There's mounting evidence German discount supermarket Lidl is planning to come to Australia

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One of the world’s biggest retailers continues to register trademarks in Australia, despite insisting it has no plans to set up here.

German discount supermarket Lidl – which will open stores in the US next month, offering up to 50 per cent off rivals’ prices – has trademarked the words LIDL TO GO and LIDL YOU.

LIDL TO GO is the chain’s convenience assortment. LIDL YOU is a streaming service.

A Lidl representative told Fairfax Media the chain had “no plans” to enter Australia.

It’s speculated Lidl is keeping open the option of launching here, once it has bedded down its aggressive US expansion.

Lidl is owned by the privately held Schwarz Group, one of the world’s largest retailers, which also owns discount department store Kaufland.

Until last year, Lidl planned to open in Australia and emulate the success of its arch-rival Aldi.

But Schwarz Group chief, under executive Klaus Gehrig, decided Lidl would focus on the US and Kaufland would head Down Under to increase its international sales.

Michael Bate is the head of retail at Colliers International, which conducted research for Lidl about the Australian market.

Mr Bate said Lidl was initially excited by Australia but concluded the market was too small and too concentrated, and was now focused on the US.

He said Lidl was “hedging its bets” by continuing to register brands here. The LIDL YOU application was lodged after Kaufland confirmed in November it was looking for land and staff in Australia.

Lidl has applied for thousands of trademarks in Australia since the year 2000, around the time Aldi set up here.

Last year it applied for trademarks covering hundreds of products, held talks with the Victorian government, and contacted suppliers.

It’s understood Schwarz Group plans to launch a bespoke Kaufland in Australia, rather than use its German or Eastern European formats. It’s unclear when the first Kaufland stores will open here, although it’s speculated it will be several years from now.

After years of competing, Fairfax Media understands Lidl and Kaufland are now being encouraged to work together and share resources at a top level.

This article was originally published on Business Day. Read the original article here, or follow Business Day on Facebook.

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