Lidl to launch e-shop

The retailer won't be delivering perishable food, just consumer goods

Retail chain Lidl is testing an e-shop for the Czech Republic. It will be the German retailer's first e-shop in Central and Eastern Europe, and fourth in total. The test version at Lidl-shop.cz is only for 9,500 employees and their families. The launch date for the public version has not been announced but it is expected to be in the fall, after any bugs are worked out.

Unlike some other online shops, though, Lidl will not be offering perishable food. It will have consumer goods that will be delivered in three days. Lidl executive Vít Pravda told daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) the online store would eliminate lines and possible shortages at some stores, as advertised items often run out.

Customers can already buy from Lidl e-shops in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. These stores also supply consumer goods plus packaged foods like dried pasta and food in cans and jars, plus beverages such as wine and spirits.

Popular items in the German store include frying pans, coffee makers, food processors, drills, irons, furniture such as beds, bed linen, remote-controlled toy cars and exercise equipment. The e-shop in Germany also offers various payment options such as an installment plan.

It is not clear whether all of the items in the three already running shops will be available in the Czech version.

All Lidl e-shops are being supplied from a new 44,000 square meter logistics center in Plzeň that opened last November. The center has approximately 20,000 kinds of goods.

EU regulations on online purchases give consumers the right to return items within 14 days for any reason. Lidl's German store has a 90-day return policy.

For fresh food items delivered the same day, there are still other options in Prague such as iTesco.cz, Kosik.cz or Rohlik.cz, which handle grocery orders. There are also services such as DameJidlo.cz that deliver cooked meals.

Some 10 percent of Czechs buy goods over the internet on occasion.

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