North Carolina, USA

Aldi – The New (Discount Grocery) Kid in Town

Gavin P. Smith – The Griffin Report

When it comes to the consumer marketplace, nothing is better for the consumer than a little friendly competition.  Competition gives the consumers extensive choices, access to more variety and the benefit of lower prices.  Central Florida discount grocers are about to see more competition enter the marketplace.  For consumers, this means even more variety at the grocery store.

The new chain is named Aldi.  Aldi, an abbreviation for Albrecht Discounts, is a German grocery chain that has been providing groceries to U.S. markets since 1976.  Beginning in Iowa, Aldi has gradually expanded its holdings, which now equal 900 stores in 26 states.  Aldi continues to expand its reach, most recently announcing its push into Central Florida.

Evidently, Aldi means business.  They have already broken ground for a new 500,000 square-foot distribution center and Florida headquarters to be built in Haines City.  That distribution center will service 25 new stores that will be built along the I-4 corridor this year.  Aldi has reportedly been making land grabs for the new stores, already breaking ground on some.  At least half of the new Aldi stores will be in the Central Florida area.

So what’s the reason behind this big push into Central Florida?  David Behm, Vice President of the Orlando Division of Aldi, provides insight.

“In the 30 plus years since Aldi got its start in Burlington, Iowa, the company has expanded throughout the Midwest, east coast and over the last several years throughout the southeast,” said Behm.  “Florida is an attractive market for our continued expansion in the south.  Central Florida specifically is attractive to us because of the number of residents who have relocated to Florida from areas where Aldi is established.  We know from customer correspondence that these shoppers are eager for the quality and value combination that only Aldi provides.”

What would the average consumer find when they walk into Aldi for the first time?  Aldi stores are not into show, just products.  This simplified shopping experience includes bare minimum decoration, goods that are stacked on pallets, and bag-it-yourself checkout.

“Our stores are clean, bright, colorful, and easy to shop without the hassles of loyalty cards, coupons or ’10-for-10′ type of promotions,” said Behm.

Plus, Aldi offers products catering to a variety of demographic mix.

“Our customers can expect to find about 95% of their weekly grocery needs in our stores as Aldi carries the 1,200 most frequently purchased grocery items,” said Behm.  “The item mix in our stores reflects customer’s expectations in various geographic areas in which we operate.”

All of the money saved in their no-frills, simplified approach allows Aldi to be competitive with other discount grocers.  In fact, Aldi looks very confident with their Central Florida business plan.

“Our stores are so unique that we do not worry about other chains,” said Behm. “Customers very quickly will understand that if Aldi carries an item, they will not find it consistently lower in price anywhere.”

Look for Aldi stores to pop up all over Central Florida this fall.

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