Aldi to boost US presence by 50%

Germany-based Aldi Inc. announced plans to open 50% more stores across the United States over the next five years, which would potentially make it the largest discount supermarket chain by store count in the country, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Aldi currently boasts nearly 1,300 U.S. locations, mostly in the Midwest and East. The chain is known for selling low-cost grocery and food items, largely under its own successful private-label brands, in clean, uncluttered warehouse-type stores.

The retailer is planning to open 650 new stores in the U.S. by 2018, hitting new markets such as Southern California. “That could allow it to surpass the store count of rival Save-A-Lot, a unit of Supervalu Inc., which had 1,334 locations as of last month and has expanded little in recent years,” writes the WSJ

"We are ramping up expansion because there is growing demand for our stores," Aldi U.S. President Jason Hart said in an interview.

Aldi opened its first store in the U.S. in 1976, and in recent years has been opening about 80 stores annually in the country. The new expansion plan would accelerate that pace to an average of 130 store openings a year.

The retailer dismisses many traditional grocery store practices, such as requiring customers to pay a 25-cent deposit for shopping carts, and stocking some merchandise on pallets of boxed products instead of fixed shelving units. Aldi does very little advertising and store hours are limited to peak shopping times.


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