Aldi Gears Up Expansion as Lidl Debuts in United States
With newcomer Lidl poised to open doors at its first stores in the USA on June 15, well-established discount grocery chain and arch-rival Aldi has announced a $3.4 billion capital investment to expand its footprint to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. This would make it the third largest food retailer by count in the United States, serving 100 million customers per month.
The Batavia, Illinois-based company, which like Lidl is headquartered in Germany, earlier this year unveiled a $1.6 billion program to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020. The combination of remodeling and construction of additional outlets is expected to bolster its payroll by up to 25,000 as new employees are hired to work in stores, warehouses and offices.
"We pioneered a grocery model built around value, convenience, quality and selection, and now Aldi is one of America's favorite and fastest growing retailers," said CEO Jason Hart. "We're growing at a time when other retailers are struggling. We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and healthier options across the store – all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores."
Aldi, like Lidl, also offers a wide selection of frozen products, which run the gamut from private label vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, pizza and ready meals to ice cream, cakes and other desserts.
Arlington, Virginia-based Lidl, which intends to open as many as 100 stores in the Unites States within the first year of operation, will see its first round of ribbon cuttings at perhaps as many as twenty stand-alone units this summer in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. They will feature 21,000 square feet of shopping space, while Aldi units typically sport plus or minus 18,000 square feet.
The company is bit behind schedule in setting up shop in the US, as the original idea was to enter the market in 2015. The plan of action was reportedly delayed due to the departure of Lidl’s chairman and head of marketing in 2014.
Aldi, the discount chain leader in Europe, has been doing business in the USA since 1976 and expanding ever since. It currently operates more than 1,600 stores in 35 states. Worldwide Aldi has over 10,300 stores in 18 countries, while Lidl has close to 10,000 outlets in 27 nations.