As middle-class mums look for ways to stretch the family budget, Lidl is hoping to tempt them with the launch of a new 'premium' brand. Boasting up to 25% less sawdust in their cereals and cosmetics, and pledging to only use free-range lips and sphincters in their canned meats, the new 'Tolerate The Difference' products are already flying off the pallets.
"We're hoping to attact customers away from more aspirational 'lifestyle' stores, such as Aldi or Happy Shopper", explained Nigel Bland, Lidl's Marketing Director. "But at the same time, we don't want to alienate our regular 'Cher*' demographic. So we're still selling frozen kebabs, blue pop and gallon tins of beans in thin paint. We want it to remain possible to feed the typical family of nine for under £15 a week".
To make customers from the loftier end of the high street feel at home, Lidl is also sacking most of their staff and introducing 'self-service' tills. "Pressure sensors in the conveyor belt carefully weigh all the customer's items, and we charge them a flat-rate 30 quid a tonne. That pretty much covers our costs".
To further encourage middle-class customers, Lidl have removed their logo from their carrier bags. The move follows a string of complaints from parents who have been caught re-using Lidl bags in public. "We're aware that there's a certain amount of shame associated with our stores, so we're also going to be tinting our windows", said Mr Bland. "We're also considering a home delivery service, using unmarked skips".
Rival chains are watching the moves carefully. A spokesman for Marks and Spencers was in bullish mood, though: "We're not that bothered, to be honest. No-one that shops with us can actually cook, they just come here for ready meals they pretend they made themselves. They'll never manage to follow the instructions on the Lidl boxes, they don't even have cooking times for AGAs".
* gypsies, tramps and thieves