Aldi (stylised as ALDI) is the common brand of two discount
supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries, and an
estimated combined turnover of more than €50 billion. Based
in Germany, the chain was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht
in 1946 when they took over their mother's store in Essen, which had
been in operation since 1913. The business was split into two separate
groups in 1960, that later became
Aldi Nord, headquartered in Essen,
Aldi Süd, headquartered in Mülheim. In 1962, they
introduced the name
Aldi (a syllabic abbreviation for Albrecht
Diskont), which is pronounced [ˈaldiː] ( listen). In
Aldi Nord and
Aldi Süd have been financially and legally
separate since 1966, although both divisions' names may appear (as if
they were a single enterprise) with certain store brands or when
negotiating with contractor companies. The formal business name is
Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Compagnie, oHG.
Aldi's German operations consist of
Aldi Nord's 35 individual regional
companies with about 2,500 stores in western, northern, and Eastern
Aldi Süd's 32 regional companies with 1,600 stores in
western and southern Germany. Internationally, Aldi
Nord operates in Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, the Iberian
Peninsula, and Poland, while
Aldi Süd operates in Ireland, Great
Britain, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, China, Italy,
Aldi Süd operates as Hofer within the latter two
Aldi Nord and
Aldi Süd also operate in the United
States with 1,600 stores as of 2017. Aldi, which along with Trader
Joe's is owned by Germany’s Albrecht family , while
operates as "Aldi".
2 Business organization
2.3 Geographic distribution
3 Business practices
3.1 In-store layout
3.2 Advertising policy
3.3 Logos and branding
5 Subsidiaries and joint ventures
9 External links
Albrecht grocery store in Essen-Schonnebeck (1958)
Aldi's original store in Essen, still in operation
The earliest roots of the company trace back to 1913, when the mother
of Karl and
Theo Albrecht opened a small store in a suburb of
Essen. Their father was employed as a miner and later as a baker's
Karl Albrecht was born in 1920,
Theo Albrecht in 1922. Theo
Albrecht completed an apprenticeship in his mother's store, while Karl
Albrecht worked in a delicatessen.
Karl Albrecht took over a food shop formerly run by F. W. Judt who
already advertised that they were the "cheapest food source". Karl
Albrecht served in the German Army during World War II. In 1946, the
brothers took over their mother's business and soon opened another
retail outlet nearby. By 1950, the Albrecht brothers owned 13
stores in the Ruhr Valley.
The brothers' idea, which was new at the time, was to subtract the
legal maximum rebate of 3% before sale. The market leaders at the
time, which often were co-operatives, required their customers to
collect rebate stamps, and to send them at regular intervals to
reclaim their money. The Albrecht brothers also rigorously removed
merchandise that did not sell from their shelves, cutting costs by
neither advertising nor selling fresh produce, and keeping the size of
their retail outlets small.
When the brothers split the company in 1960 over a dispute whether
they should sell cigarettes, they owned 300 shops with a cash flow
of DM90 million yearly. In 1962, they introduced the name Aldi—short
Aldi Nord and
Aldi Süd have been financially
and legally separate since 1966, although both divisions' names may
appear as if they were a single enterprise with certain store brands
or when negotiating with contractor companies.
The individual groups were originally owned and managed jointly by the
Karl Albrecht (d. 2014) retained ownership of
Aldi Süd, and
with a personal wealth of €17.2 billion, making him the richest man
in Germany, while the co-owners of
Aldi Nord, Berthold and Theo
Albrecht Jr., close behind at €16 billion. Dieter Schwarz, owner of
Kaufland came in third, with a fortune of €11.5
Aldi started to expand internationally in 1967, when
acquired the grocery chain Hofer in Austria;
Aldi Nord opened its
first stores abroad in the
Netherlands in 1973, and other
countries followed. In 1976,
Aldi opened its first store in the United
States in Iowa,[a] and, in 1979,
Aldi Nord acquired Trader Joes.
German reunification and the fall of the Iron Curtain, Aldi
experienced a rapid expansion. The brothers retired as CEOs in 1993;
control of the companies was placed in the hands of private family
foundations, the Siepmann Foundation (
Aldi Süd) and the Markus
Aldi Nord, Trader Joe's).
Aldi in Germany
Aldi Nord group currently consists of 35 independent regional
branches with approximately 2,500 stores.
Aldi Süd is made up of 31
companies with 1,600 stores. The border between their territories is
commonly known as ″Aldi-Äquator″ (literally: Aldi
equator) and runs from the
Mülheim an der Ruhr,
Wermelskirchen, Marburg, Siegen, and
Gießen east to just north of
East Germany is served by
Aldi Nord, except for one Aldi
Süd in Sonneberg, Thuringia, whose regional office is in Bavaria. The
regional branches are organised as limited partnerships with a
regional manager for each branch who reports directly to the head
Aldi Nord) or
Mülheim an der Ruhr (
In December 2002, a survey conducted by the German market research
institute Forsa found 95% of blue-collar workers, 88% of white-collar
workers, 84% of public servants, and 80% of self-employed Germans shop
at Aldi. One of Aldi's direct competitors internationally is
Aldi stores worldwide:
Aldi Nord in blue,
Aldi Süd in orange
Aldi group operates over 8,000 stores worldwide.
Aldi Nord is
responsible for its stores in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg,
France, Poland, Spain, Denmark, and Portugal, and also operates the
Trader Joe's markets in the United States.
responsibilities are in the
United States (operating under the Aldi
Italy (as Hofer), Great Britain, Ireland,
Australia, and Switzerland.
Aldi Süd's first
Switzerland store opened
in 2005, while it has operated in
Hungary since 2007.
Aldi Süd had
invested an estimated €800m ($1bn; £670m) in Greece from November
2008 until pulling out on 31 December 2010.
Aldi Nord has renamed its Dutch and Belgian subsidiaries Combi
and Lansa to the
Aldi Marché brand,
Aldi Süd tries to
maintain a regional appearance, branding its stores
Aldi Süd in
Aldi Suisse in Switzerland, and Hofer in
Aldi UK Market Share from Kantar Worldpanel
Aldi Süd in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, England.
Aldi launched in Great Britain, on 5 April 1990, when it opened its
first store there in Stechford, Birmingham, using the wholly owned
English registered company of ALDI Stores Limited and
Aldi sales in
Britain grew consistently. In October 2013,
Aldi opened the 300th
store in Great Britain. By 2017
Aldi had over 600 stores there,
and was opening them at a rate of more than one a week with the aim of
having a thousand stores by 2022.
It was still a small player in Great Britain, with a grocery share of
less than 3.6%, but its importance, along with that of continental
Lidl was growing, with half of shoppers in Great
Aldi over Christmas that year.
stores in affluent locations, including
Knutsford and Bury St
In much of Australia,
Aldi filled a void in the discount supermarket
business that arose when the discount grocery chain
Franklins went out
Aldi opened its first store in Sydney, 2001 and has grown
rapidly since, maintaining a 12.6% market share as of early
Aldi Süd expanded to the
United States under the
Aldi banner, having
expanded throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S., mostly through
organic expansion, though it did buy
Bottom Dollar Food in late 2014
from Delhaize Group.
Aldi Süd revealed expansion plans in 2015
and expanded into the
Southern California market, where
Trader Joe's is based. On 25 November 2016
Aldi Süd confirmed
that it will expand to China in late 2017.
Hofer, subsidiary of
Aldi Süd, opened its first 10 stores in
March 1, 2018.
New style of
Aldi Süd in Simi Valley, CA, USA
Old style of
Aldi Süd in Bethlehem, PA, USA
Aldi Nord in Poland.
total number of
Aldi Nord stores
total number of
Aldi Süd stores International
total number of
Aldi Süd stores
combined total of
Aldi practices are common in German supermarkets but largely
Aldi in other countries. These include the
system of metal gates and turnstiles forcing customers to exit through
the checkout, and charging customers for shopping bags. Until 2004,
Aldi stores accepted only cash (since then, German stores have
Girocard debit cards). Debit cards also are accepted
in the United States, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
France, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland,
Australia, Slovenia, and Hungary. All 4 major credit cards are
accepted in the
United States as of 1 March 2016. Electronic Benefit
Transfer cards are also accepted in the United States.
Outside of Great Britain,
United States and France,
does not accept credit cards, though
Australia accepts MasterCard
and Visa for a 0.5% surcharge and
Aldi Ireland accepts Visa and
MasterCard with no surcharge. In the United States, as of February
Aldi accepts all four major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa,
American Express and Discover Card), and from the beginning all credit
cards "Carte Bleue" (Visa,
American Express or MasterCard) in France
due to the banking system in
France where debit cards don't exist;
Aldi only accepted debit cards.
Aldi has accepted
MasterCard without surcharge throughout
Great Britain from
October 2014, which had previously been accepted only in Scotland,
Germany from September 2015.
Aldi Suisse became one of the first companies to accept the Apple Pay
contactless payment system in
Switzerland on 7 July 2016.
Aldi Nord interior
The inside of an
Aldi Süd store in Hungary
Aldi stores are noted as examples of so-called no-frills stores that
often display a variety of items at discount prices, specializing in
staple items, such as food, beverages, toilet paper, sanitary
articles, and other inexpensive household items. Many of its products
are own brands, with the number of other brands usually limited to a
maximum of two for a given item. This increases sales for each
article, and lets
Aldi shops be smaller than stores with more brand
choice. This practice let
Aldi avoid price tags, even before the
introduction of barcode scanners. On many of its own brands, if
Aldi will place multiple barcodes on products to speed the
check out process.
Branded products carried include
HARIBO in Germany,
Belgium and France,
Branston Pickle in Great Britain; and
Vegemite and Milo in Australia. In the United States, major brand-name
products, such as
Oscar Mayer bacon, sometimes are offered as a
'special purchase': name-brand items that
Aldi has received at a
special price from the vendor and can offer for a reduced price.
Unlike most shops,
Aldi does not accept manufacturers' coupons,
although some US stores successfully experimented with store coupons
(e.g. $10 off a $25 purchase).
In addition to its standard assortment,
Aldi has weekly special
offers, some of them on more expensive products such as
electronics, tools, appliances, or computers, usually from in-house
Medion and workzone brand for tools. Discount
items can include clothing, toys, flowers, and gifts. Specials have
strict limits on quantities, and are for one week. Aldi's early
computer offers in
Germany (such as a
Commodore 64 in 1987) resulted
in those products selling out in a few hours.
Aldi is the largest wine retailer in Germany. Some Australian
stores now sell alcoholic beverages. Some US stores also sell
alcoholic beverages (mainly beer and wine) where permitted by local
and state laws.
Aldi mainly sells exclusively produced, custom-branded products (often
identical to and produced by major brands) with brand names
including Grandessa and Fit & Active.
Aldi has a policy in
Germany of not advertising, apart from a weekly
newsletter of special prices called "
Aldi informs" that is distributed
in stores and by direct mail and often printed in local newspapers. It
claims this is a cost saving that can be passed on to consumers. In
Aldi has never used an external advertising agency.
In the United States, it advertises in newspapers and on television,
as well as print ads distributed in stores, and via the Internet.
In Great Britain, print and television ads have appeared since May
In Australia, television advertising is common and the current ads are
listed on the Australian website.
In Belgium, print, radio and television ads started appearing in late
2017. These ads were based on the positive results of taste-tests
where the chain pitted its own products against common name-brand
Logos and branding
Aldi Süd Logo used internationally from 1982 up until
The two stores Nord and Süd have distinct logos with Nord displaying
the entire 'A' for ALDI while Süd unveiled a logo in 1982 which
displays only half. In 2006, ALDI Süd modified the logo slightly and
then in March 2017, unveiled a new logo which removed the blue box
line around the artistic 'A' and revealed a more rounded, 3D look for
the logo as well as a new font for the word 'ALDI', further
differentiating it from the ALDI Nord logo which had shared the same
font for the brand until then.
Aldi shops were often ridiculed as being cheap shops
selling low-quality goods, whose customers could not afford to shop
In the United Kingdom,
Aldi has won
Supermarket of the Year two years
in a row (2012/13), and in 2013,
Aldi won the Grocer of the Year
Award. However, in February 2015,
Aldi narrowly lost to Waitrose
for the title of
Supermarket of the Year 2015. In April 2015, Aldi
Waitrose to become the United Kingdom's sixth-largest
supermarket chain. In February 2017,
Aldi overtook Co-op to become
the United Kingdom's fifth largest supermarket chain. 
In the United States, due to the relatively low staffing of Aldi
locations compared to other supermarket chains,
Aldi has a reputation
of starting employees out at significantly higher than minimum wage,
unusual among American supermarkets.
Aldi has been accused of a "lack of corporate
responsibility" to their farmer suppliers by the Irish Farmers'
Subsidiaries and joint ventures
Aldi has a mobile virtual network operator in Germany,
Belgium and the
Aldi also operates a similar network in
Australia using Telstra's 4G network, called Aldimobile.
Aldi sells low cost liquor from its liquor stores. Until March 2016,
Aldi had a liquor website serving the east coast of Australia. This
has now been closed down, citing it wishes to focus on expanding the
supermarket chain across Australia.
Austria through its subsidiary Hofer,
Aldi has a joint venture with
the local petrol retailer Free Energy (FE) Trading GmbH, to create
some no frills petrol stations called Diskont. The 66 stations are
on or nearby the stores, providing self-serve unleaded or diesel fuel
by card-operated pumps. These have been in operation since 2009.
In May 2004, German
Aldi stores sold garden furniture made of
Indonesian Meranti wood. Because it was not able to show that it was
sourced legally (70% of Indonesian timber is illegally logged),
environmental organisations pressured
Aldi to stop selling the
furniture. Within days
Aldi announced that all of the timber used
in its products would bear the FSC certificate, which promotes
In January 2013,
Germany was caught up in the horse meat
scandal. On 8 February 2013, the store group admitted that some of
its frozen lasagne and spaghetti bolognese products contained
30%–100% horse meat rather than the advertised beef and that it had
terminated its relationship with the supplier responsible for the
In January 2014, following a mislabelling of turkey meat as halal,
Aldi apologised and said, "
Aldi does not label any products as
halal-certified". In May 2015,
Aldi apologised again after it sold
pork products labelled as halal.
Aldi purchased the Iowa's Benner Tea chain and opened its first
United States store at Burlington in 1976.
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