German discount retailer Lidl entered the Swiss retail market today (19 March), with the opening of 13 stores in the German speaking part of the country.

The move, announced last month, will see Lidl opening outlets located in seven cantons throughout Switzerland, including Lucerne and Zurich.

"We believe that there is considerable potential for us to grow in Switzerland. We expect our offering, which we have tailored to the expectations of Swiss consumers, will prove popular," a spokesperson for the company said.

The company revealed that it is stocking Swiss and foreign brands at its stores.

Lidl has remained coy over its plans to open further outlets in the market, although it is believed that the group could expand rapidly.

The move follows fellow German discounter Aldi's expansion into Switzerland in 2005 and price competition between the two is expected to be fierce.

However, the Swiss market remains dominated by its two largest players, Coop and Migros, who collectively control more than 70% of the food retail sector.

A spokesperson for the Coop told just-food that the group was watching the progress of the discounters "with interest".

However, the spokesperson added that the chain has continued to grow its sales and market share despite the incursion of Aldi.

"We expect to continue to perform well regardless," the spokesperson commented.

Migros was unavailable for comment as just-food went to press.