Lidl announced Wednesday that it would open the first 20 of its U.S. stores this summer as part of 100 planned openings within a year, events that could kick off a new era of competition for U.S. grocers.

The German discounter characterized the summer openings as “ahead of schedule” although the company had previously said only that its first U.S. stores would open prior to 2018. The first wave of stores, to be located at unspecified locations in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, would open roughly four years after reports first surfaced of Lidl’s plans to expand in the U.S.