Aldi Attacks!

Low-price grocer announces aggressive expansion plans


BATAVIA, Ill. -- In what could be another example of a grocery chain attempting to lure away shoppers from convenience stores, other low-price or small-footprint grocers, higher-end supermarkets and other channels, Aldi has announced a five-year strategic plan to open 650 new stores across the nation.

To reach its goal, over the next five years, Aldi plans to accelerate the pace of new store openings to an average of 130 per year, up from an average of 80 stores per year in recent years, it said.

Since opening its first store in 1976, Aldi has achieved measured, but steady, growth entirely through organic expansion. Today, Aldi has nearly 1,300 stores across 32 states. When the expansion is complete, Aldi will have stores coast to coast.

Aldi also is planning to invest more than $3 billion to pay for land, facilities and equipment, it said.

The Germany-based company has its U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill.

"We're ramping up our expansion plans to meet growing demand for Aldi from customers across the country," said Jason Hart, president of Aldi. "Recently, we successfully entered new markets such as Houston, and expanded our presence in competitive markets like South Florida and New York City. At Aldi, we believe that great quality can be affordable, and we are eager to bring the Aldi difference to new markets like Southern California."

Aldi said its growth is accelerating because of its business model that lets shoppers save up to 50% on more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items, including nearly 70 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, without coupons or buying in bulk.

"When we open a new store, word of mouth about the amazing quality and freshness of the products available at Aldi spreads quickly from loyal shoppers to friends and neighbors. While new customers are sometimes surprised that Aldi doesn't look or feel like other grocery stores, once they learn how our efficiencies directly impact their savings at the register, they embrace the Aldi way of grocery shopping," said Hart.

Aldi said that it generates savings for its customers through a "low-overhead, focused approach" that includes:

  • Volume purchasing: By concentrating its full buying power on 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items in the most common size, Aldi secures sizable discounts.
  • Exclusive brand products: More than 90% of products at Aldi are their own exclusive brands rather than national brands. In the Aldi Test Kitchen, Aldi ensures that its products meet or exceed the quality and taste of national name brands. (All Aldi food products are backed by the "Double Guarantee." If for any reason a customer is not 100% satisfied with any Aldi food product, Aldi will replace the product and refund the purchase price.)
  • Special Buys: Each week, Aldi offers 20 to 30 food and nonfood products at a great value that include everything from small kitchen appliances and seasonal items to outdoor furniture and gardening tools.
  • No hidden costs: Aldi has a streamlined approach that avoids nonessential services such as banking, pharmacies, check cashing and bagging clerks.

"We've updated our new store design to be brighter and more welcoming than ever before," said Hart. "And we continue to increase our healthy food options, including fresh produce, meats, dairy and baked goods. Our Fit & Active line offers a number of foods that have less fat and sodium and fewer calories, and we are preparing to introduce our new SimplyNature line of natural and organic foods. With everything we have to offer, it's no surprise to us that more and more people are discovering that they don't have to sacrifice quality and taste to save money by shopping at Aldi."