The company was founded in the 1940s by a member of the Schwarz family, and was called Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung (Schwarz Assorted Wholesale Foods). Since opening in 1973 established itself in over 20 countries throughout Europe. The name Lidl is the surname of a former business partner of Josef Schwarz’s, Ludwig Lidl, a retired schoolteacher, and Josef’s son Dieter Schwarz bought the rights to the name from him for 1,000 German Marks, as he could not use the name Schwarz Markt; Schwarzmarkt means black market. Lidl is part of the Schwarz Group.