:"For similarly named settlements, see
company_name = ALDI
company_| foundation = 1913/1946
company_type = Discount Supermarket Chain
company_slogan = flagicon|USA Shop ALDI Smart!
flagicon|UK Spend a little, Live a lot
Essen, Germany(Aldi Nord) Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany(Aldi Süd)
Theo Albrecht, Aldi Nord Karl Albrecht, Aldi Süd
industry = Retail (Grocery)
products = Mainly own branded, few larger brands
revenue = profit
US$48 billion (2006) [cite web|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20060618233016/http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/54/54910.html|title=ALDI Group Company Profile|publisher=Yahoo! Finance|accessdate=2006-06-18]
homepage = [http://www.aldi.com/ www.aldi.com]
Audio|Aldi.ogg|ALDI, short for "ALbrecht DIscount", is a
discount supermarketchain based in Germany. The chain is made up of two separate groups, "ALDI Nord" (North - operating as ALDI MARKT) and "ALDI Süd" (South - operating as ALDI SÜD), which operate independently from each other in specific market boundaries. The individual groups were originally owned and managed by brothers Karl Albrechtand Theo Albrecht; both have since retired. However, they are still Germany's richest men [cite web|url=http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/Worth_1.html|title=The World's Richest People|publisher=Forbes Magazine|accessdate=2007-01-14] , earning an estimated €1.5 billion per year.de icon cite web|url=http://www.stern.de/wirtschaft/geld/501407.html?eid=501055|publisher=Stern|title=Hinter den Kulissen des Discounters|accessdate=2007-01-14] Aldi's German operations currently consist of Aldi Nord's 35 individual regional companies with about 2,500 stores in Northern and Eastern Germany, and Aldi Süd's 31 regional companies with 1,600 stores in Western and Southern Germany. Internationally, Aldi Nord operates in Denmark, France, the Beneluxcountries, the Iberian peninsulaand Poland, while Aldi Süd operates in countries including Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Austriaand Slovenia(operating as Hofer), the United Statesand Australia.According to a survey conducted in 2002 by the German market research institute Forsa, 95% of blue-collar workers, 88% of white-collar workers, 84% of public servants and 80% of self-employed Germans shop at Aldi. Aldi's main competitor, nationally and internationally, is Lidl.
Earliest roots of the company trace back to 1913. When the mother of Karl and
Theo Albrechtopened a small store in a suburb of Essen. Their father was employed as a minerand later as a baker’s assistant. Karl was born in 1920, Theo in 1922. Theo completed an apprenticeshipin his mother’s store, while Karl worked in a delicatessen. Karl took over a food shop formerly run by F. W. Judt who already advertised to be the "cheapest food source". Karl also served in the German Armyduring World War II. After the end of World War II, the brothers took over their mother’s business (1946) and soon opened another retail outlet in the vicinity. By 1950, the Albrecht brothers already owned 13 stores in the Ruhr Valley. -Aldi is presently the 24th largest retailer in the world, one place below the rapidly expanding Woolworths LTD.The brothers' idea, which was new at the time, was to subtract the then-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 in regular intervals to claim their money back. The Albrecht brothers also rigorously removed merchandise that did not sell from their shelves, and squeezed out as much savings as possible by not advertising, not selling fresh produce, and keeping the size of their retail outlets as small as possible.
When the two brothers split the company in 1960 over a dispute whether they should sell cigarettes at the till or not, they owned 300 shops with a cash flow of DM 90 million per year. In 1962, they introduced the "Aldi" brand name. Both groups are financially and legally separate since 1966, though they describe their relationship as a "friendly relation"; they will also occasionally appear as if they were a single enterprise, for example with certain
house brands, or when negotiating with contractor companies.Aldi expanded internationally in the 1970s and 1980s, the number of outlets skyrocketing, especially after German reunificationand the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Albrecht brothers retreated from their positions as CEOs in 1993 and gave most of their wealth to foundations.
National business organization
The 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 runs from the
Rhinevia Mülheim an der Ruhr, Wermelskirchen, Marburg, Siegenand Gießeneastwards up to slightly north of Fulda. Former East Germanyis completely served by Aldi Nord, save for a single Aldi Süd store in Sonneberg, Thuringiathat is associated with a Bavarian regional office. The regional branches are organised as limited partnerships with a regional manager for each branch who reports directly to the head office in Essen(Aldi Nord) or Mülheim an der Ruhr(Aldi Süd).The regional distribution centres are usually located away from urban areas, but always near an autobahnto facilitate transporting the merchandise to the individual stores. Aldi Nord, for example, has distribution centres in Bargteheide, Barleben, Beucha, Beverstedt, Datteln, Essen, Greven, Hann. Münden, Hemmoor, Hesel, Herten, Horst, Hoyerswerda, Jarmen, Lehrte, Lingen, Minden, Nortorf, Radevormwald, Rinteln, Salzgitter, Scharbeutz, Schloß Holte, Schwelm, Werland Weyhe.The coffee roaster of Aldi Nord is also located in Weyhe.
The Aldi group operates about 7,600 individual stores worldwide. A new store opens every week.
Aldi Nord is responsible for the markets in
Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugaland Denmark. Aldi Süd caters to the markets of Austria, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Australia, Switzerlandand Slovenia. Aldi Süd currently is expanding in Switzerland, where the first stores opened in 2005. Hungary, Greeceand Polandare on the short list of countries for further expansion and are expected to see the first openings in 2007.
Whilst Aldi Nord has long renamed its Dutch and Belgian subsidiaries Combi and Lansa to the ALDI Markt/Aldi Marché brand, Aldi Süd tries to keep a regional appearance. Therefore, Aldi Süd explicitly brands its outlets as "Aldi Süd" in Germany, "Aldi Suisse" in Switzerland and "Hofer" in Austria and Slovenia.
Many Aldi practices are common in German supermarkets but largely unique to Aldi in markets such as the U.S. and Britain. These include the system of metal gates and turnstiles forcing customers to exit through the checkout, the practice of charging for shopping bags, and the fact that Aldi until recently accepted only cash (since 2004, German stores accept domestic Maestro
debit cards). Debit cards are also accepted in the USA, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia and Slovenia.
Aldi generally does not accept
credit cards, though Aldi Australiaaccepts MasterCardand Visa for an additional 1% surcharge.
Another practice at Aldi stores that is uncommon in North America and some other parts of the world, although ubiquitous in
Europe, is requiring a coin, or a reusable coin-sized token which may be purchased from Aldi, to use a shopping trolley. When the coin or token is inserted, the trolley is unlocked from the other trolleys.
The company's stores in Germany are similar in size to those of competing supermarkets, and can often be found near shopping centres or elsewhere where retail units of this size are common. Fact|date=September 2008 However, in other countries, such as Britain, France, and the U.S., Aldi stores are far smaller than those countries' typical supermarkets or
hypermarkets, and tend to be free-standing, purpose-built structures. Not only are all stores roughly the same size, but also have the same appearance of a low building with pitched roof. Fact|date=September 2008 Aldi stores, at least in Germany, have a similar shop layout, making it easier for customers to find the goods they are looking for even in a store that they do not know. Fact|date=September 2008
Some Aldi stores have limited opening hours (eg. until 18:30 on week nights and 16:00 Saturdays), such as were restricted by law in Germany until these laws were relaxed in 1996 and 2004. Nearly all of its German outlets, particularly those near shopping centres, now stay open until 20:00 on six days a week. The recent abolition of the national law on closure times and consequent liberalisation to a free-for-all six day week schedule in most states of Germany has had little effect on Aldi so far. On the other hand, Aldi stores in the U.S. generally open between 9 A.M. and 10 A.M. closing between 8 P.M. (20:00) weeknights, 7 P.M. (19:00) Saturdays, and 5:00 P.M. (17:00) on Sundays. Stores in the UK close at 19:00 on weeknights, earlier on Saturday, and, until recently, most remained closed on Sunday (Aldi stores in England and Wales, like most other supermarkets, now open on Sundays between 10:00 and 16:00 while stores in Scotland where Sunday trading laws are more relaxed open for similar hours as any other day). Aldi stores in Australia generally open from 09:00 to 19:00 weekdays and open both Saturday and Sunday until 17:00/18:00.
Aldi specializes in staple items such as food,
beverages, sanitary articles and other inexpensive household items. Many of its products are own-brand labeled, with the number of outside brands being very limited, usually no more than two different brands for one kind of product and often only one. This increases the numbers of sales for each article and also allows Aldi stores to be smaller than supermarkets which cover the same range of products but with more diversity. Also it allowed Aldi to avoid the use of price tags even before the introduction of bar code scanners (see below).
Some brand name products are carried in certain markets however, for example
HARIBOsweets in Germany, Marmiteand Branston Picklein the UK or Vegemiteand Milo in Australia. In the US, major brand name products such as Oscar Mayer Bacon, are occasionally offered as 'special purchase items'. This is strictly limited to very strong brands, though, and usually the result of the patronage not favoring Aldi's house-brand substitute over the brand product. Fact|date=July 2008 Unlike most other stores, Aldi does not accept manufacturers' coupons.
In addition to its standard assortment, Aldi also has weekly special offers, some of them on more expensive products such as electronics, appliances or
computers, usually from Medion. Fact|date=July 2008 Although not always available, but regularly put up for sale are clothing, toys, flowers, gifts. Specials are only available in strictly limited quantities and for a limited time frame (one week). In the past some of Aldi's early computer offers were so popular in Germany that all available items sold in only a few hours. These computer products included in 1987, a Commodore 64 home computerpack. [cite web|url=http://www.homecomputer.de/pages/f_info.html?Commodore_C64_Aldi.html|title=HCM: The Home Computer Museum|accessdate=2007-02-09]
Aldi is the largest
wineretailer in Germany. [cite web|url=http://www.progressivenewsletter.com/view_news.do?id=7330|title=Progressive Group International|accessdate=2007-14-12] Aldi mainly sells exclusively produced, custom-branded products (often identical to and produced by major brands) with brand names including "Grandessa" and "Be Active". American Aldi stores also feature bargain-priced, gourmet foods imported from Germany. This is also the case in Australia and the UK.
In the USA, Aldi Nord CEO
Theo Albrechtstarted a family trust that owns the Trader Joe'schain of specialty grocery stores, which is separate from both Aldi corporations. Fact|date=July 2008 It is not Theo but his brother Karl Albrecht's Aldi South that conducts Aldi's operations in the USA.
ALDI stores place their orders during the day based on average sales for the day the order is being placed for. Ordering is accomplished through the use of PDA-style wireless devices. Weekly specials are allocated to stores based upon sales due to a limited number of special items sourced by the company.
Once the order is completed by the manager, it is transmitted to the relevant distribution center and picked up from dispatch the next day. Stores are made aware of order problems via the communication material that comes with the delivery. The communication material typically includes details on what is missing from the order, price changes, and other in-store communications.
Low price philosophy
Aldi's "strictly no frills" approach is evident for instance in that Aldi stores do not decorate aisles — or even fill shelves for that matter:
pallets of the products on offer are parked alongside the aisles, and customers picking up products will gradually empty them. When all items on a pallet have been sold, it is replaced. Long lines at the checkout counter are also common, reflecting Aldi's minimal staffing levels, as well as the competitive situation in Aldi's native Germany, where long supermarket till queues are generally accepted as part of daily life. However, due to the efficient checkout system, a long queue does not necessarily translate into longer waiting times than in other supermarkets. Usually the queue moves faster than other stores because ALDI recognises the need to get customers in, paying and out, cutting out big stores and big rents. In Ireland and Great Britian Aldi operates the one past the belt system. Each time there is a trolley and a customer beyond the conveyor belt, another till is systematicaly opened, until all tills are open. In some stores, where staff call for another member, this system is known colloquially as "ur wan is below the belt"
These and other cost-cutting strategies save Aldi money and the general price level in Aldi stores shows that most of these savings are passed directly on to consumers. Aldi has carved its own niche with this approach; while some shoppers may not like shopping in a bland or industrial-looking (and possibly congested) store, such lack of frills has become part of the accepted norm with Aldi, somewhat similar to
Wal-Mart's style of parking pallets on floors with pre-prepared displays. ("Top quality at incredibly low prices", "smarter shopping" and "Spend a little, live a lot" are Aldi's marketing slogans.)
Aldi also profited from the introduction of the
euroin Germany and other countries. Consumers believed that many merchants had used the currency changeover as a cover to increase prices, often substantially; which in some cases has been upheld by independent studies. In contrast to other supermarkets, Aldi prominently listed "before and after" prices on posters in stores for months after the introduction, and generally rounded its euro prices down. As a result, Aldi earned a great deal of customer respect.
The charge imposed by credit card acquirers on payments means that Aldi stores do not accept credit cards, unlike their main rivals.
Aldi has a policy in Germany of not advertising, apart from a weekly newsletter of special prices called "Aldi informiert" (Aldi informs is a literal translation but "Aldi News" is a closer approximation in English) that is distributed in stores, by direct mail, and often printed in local newspapers. It claims this is a cost saving that can be passed on to consumers. However, in the USA, Aldi advertises regularly via weekly
newspaperinserts and television commercials. In the UK, print and television ads appeared in mid-2005. In Germany, all advertising isn't done in-house, but it is generally believed that Aldi has never spent any money for an external advertising agency at all. This is not the case in the U.S., however. There, John-Low Advertising of Chicago, IL currently handles agency-of-record duties. Aldi does not have publicly listed telephones in stores to minimise the time tills are unused.
In Australia during the period immediately after store openings, Aldi used two page colour advertising particularly in local suburban give-away newspapers. They have also delivered the full colour leaflet used in store to householders' letterboxes in store localities. In addition they offer an e-mail subscription to a weekly newsletter.
With the more recent success of supposedly upmarket rivals such as
Marks and Spencermarketing the quality of their produce, the UK advertising for Aldi now consists of a large amount of reference to products sold at Aldi that have won awards in group tests from the likes of Woman's Ownor Good Housekeepingmagazines, in an effort to underline the quality of the food.
checkoutprocedure is highly standardised, with checkout operators sitting down in swivel chairs, passing products through a two-sided barcode scanner. Products have very long barcodes covering several sides of the packaging to speed this procedure. A worker must scan 1050 items an hour. Fact|date=September 2008
Aldi was, however, a latecomer to bar code scanners, and many stores only added them in 2004; previously, cashier clerks would manually enter a three-digit code for each item from memory (Aldi North) or the actual price (Aldi South). An advantage of this was that the cashiers could already type in the prices of all the articles on the
conveyor belteven if the customers were blocking the process by not putting the articles quickly enough back into their shopping cart.
Once products have been scanned, they are put directly in the
shopping cart, which has a special dock on the counter for this purpose. This is why Aldi stores in Germany insist that customers use a trolley - the customer is expected to bag groceries away from the cash-desk. In most countries, Aldi does not offer hand baskets. In Denmark, hand baskets are available in all Aldi stores and in Australia they are offered in some stores, such as the Melbourne city store. In the UK, smaller trolleys were withdrawn even though large half-empty trolleys can create unnecessary congestion. Fact|date=July 2008
Germany, Austria, the US, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Irelandand the UK, Aldi does not provide free plastic shopping bags. Instead the customer can purchase various types of plastic/reusable bags at the checkout to cart the goods out of the store.
Originally Aldi stores were often ridiculed as being cheap shops selling low-quality goods and that Aldi's customers are all poor people who couldn't afford to shop elsewhere. It was sometimes joked that "Food stamps are the official currency of Aldi." However, being held in such low esteem by many did not seem to dent Aldi's profits. Gradually many German consumers discovered that the poor reputation of Aldi's products was either undeserved or economically justifiable. This shift in public perception was boosted by actions like a series of cookbooks that only used Aldi ingredients, which led to the emergence of a kind of Aldi
fandominto parts of the German mainstream. This can be seen by books like "Aldidente" with recipes containing only ingredients found at Aldi (which was later sold as a special at Aldi), as well as the German language newsgroup" [news:de.alt.fan.aldi de.alt.fan.aldi] ".
In countries such as the UK, where the level of service and presentation of mainstream supermarkets such as
Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury'sand Morrisonsis higher than in Aldi's native Germany, Aldi's public reputation has not improved in the same way even though the external store design and product packaging itself is often of higher quality. POV-statement|date=March 2008 Yet, due to an overall high price level in British retailing and Aldi's strong commitment to continuous low prices, the firm remains profitable. Fact|date=March 2008 While it is still a small player with a grocery market share of less than 3%, its importance along with that of continental no frills competitor Lidl is growing. Also, Aldi is aggressively recruiting management staff at such top UK institutions as the University of Warwick and others.
In the United States, like most US supermarkets, Aldi stores in many American states accept public assistance debit-style cards as payment. In addition, Aldi, along with its main competitor in the United States,
Save-A-Lot, and Price Rite are among the few businesses to have actually benefited from high gas prices due to the inexpensive prices on groceries.In many areas of Australia, Aldi filled a void in the discount supermarket business that arose when the popular discount grocery chain Franklinsceased trading in 2002, except in New South Wales. For example in Queensland Aldi aims to have 50 stores across the state by the end of 2008 in areas with a population of about 20,000 residents. [ [http://www.foodweek.com.au/main-features-page.aspx?articleType=ArticleView&articleId=1180 Aldi opens five new Queensland stores > FOODweek Online > Main Features Page ] ]
In April 2000 Aldi UK paid damages to a shop manager they had fired for being
HIV-positive. Aldi reached an out-of-court settlement with Mark Hedley, former manager of the Aldi supermarket in Seaham, County Durham, shortly before an employment tribunal hearing. Mr Hedley complained of discrimination after he was asked to leave because bosses said other staff felt uncomfortable around him. It is thought the damages paid to Mr Hedley ran to six figures [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/708412.stm|title=Damages for sacked HIV manager|publisher=BBC News|date=2000-04-10|accessdate=2007-01-14] .
In 2004, Aldi sold garden furniture from
Indonesian Merantiwood in Germany. Because it was not able to show that it was sourced legally (70% of Indonesian timber is logged illegally), environmental organisations put pressure on Aldi to withdraw the wood from the market. [de icon cite web|url=http://service.spiegel.de/digas/servlet/find/ON=spiegel-300704|publisher=SPIEGEL ONLINE|title=Umwelt:Aldi auf dem Holzweg|date=2004-05-20|accessdate=2007-02-04] After a few days Aldi bowed to the public pressure and declared in the future it would only sell wood with the FSC certificate, which promotes sustainable forestry. [de icon cite web|url=http://www.socialtimes.de/nachricht.php?nachricht_id=1887&newsrubrik_id=3|title=Protestaktionen bringen Discounter zum Umdenken|date=2004-05-26|accessdate=2007-02-04]
On 7 December 2005, based on their well known brand, Aldi (both North and South) in
Germanyintroduced a low-cost pay-as-you-gomobile phone rate Aldi Talk, piggybacking on the e-plus network. They offered rates of 5c (now 3c) per minute/SMS to other Aldi Talk customers and 15c (now 13c) to landlines and other mobile phones. This offer at first was a two-week limited time offer, but has been available permanently on a "starter set", which has a SIM cardand €10 worth of credit since early 2006. [de icon cite web|url=http://www.heise.de/mobil/newsticker/meldung/66931/|publisher=heise online|date=2005-12-03|accessdate=2007-01-14|title=Aldi steigt ins Mobilfunk-Geschäft ein] . Hoferin Austria offers a pay-as-you-go service called "yesss!" using Austria's One Network [de icon cite web|url=http://www.extradienst.at/jaos/page/main_heute.tmpl?article_id=15081&offset=3460|title= Diskont-Mobiltelefonieren: Jetzt kommt YESSS!|publisher=extradienst.at|date=2005-04-01|accessdate=2007-02-09] .
Shop ALDI Smart
On March 26th, 2008, In the US, Aldi debuted new TV commercials and a new website called"Shop ALDI Smart", it even became a new corporate slogan replacing "Incredible Value Every Day!" However, the old slogan is still seen in most stores. This new campaign celebrates why shoppers already shop at Aldi and why there is no better way to save. It also talks about "The Double Back Guarantee." One of the new TV Ads includes Aldi shoppers singing a jingle in a broadway scene.
*"Aldisierung" (Aldisation) was named Word of the Year for 2005 in German-speaking Switzerland, following the company's decision to enter the Swiss market. [de icon cite web|url=http://www.aerztezeitung.de/docs/2005/12/15/227a2802.asp?cat=/magazin/auch_das_noch|title="Aldisierung" bewegt Schweizer|publisher=Ärzte Zeitung|accessdate=2007-01-14|date=2005-12-15]
*In Germany Aldi is occasionally light-heartedly called "Feinkost Albrecht" (approximate translation: "Albrecht's Fine Foods" or " Albrecht
Delicatessen"). [de icon cite web|url=http://www.manager-magazin.de/unternehmen/artikel/0,2828,383322,00.html|title=Aldi will mehr Marken|publisher=manager-magazin|date=2005-11-04|accessdate=2007-01-14]
*From its opening in Sydney in 2001, the Aldi Süd logo was slightly changed to remove the Sud part of the name: [http://www.aldi.com/aldi_sued_logo.gif]
*Karl and Theo Albrecht's mother has been reported to say "Je schlechter es den Menschen geht, desto besser geht es uns" (The worse off the people are, the better off we are).
Homestar Runnercharacter Senor Cardgage is sometimes seen with what looks like an Aldi bag.
*The majority of American Aldi stores, a rapidly growing grocery venue, are designed by
Narramore Associates[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Bgood717] .
*In the UK During September 2008 Aldi have introduced a TV advertising campaign featuring popular Tv chef Phil Vickery demonstrating dishes that can be produced from Aldi products.
Trader Joe's-- A US speciality store chain bought by Theo Albrecht in 1978
Bottom Dollar Food
* [http://www.aldi.com/ Aldi International] (with links to all of Aldi's international websites)
* [http://www.aldiuscareers.com Aldi Careers] (Aldi's US careers website)
* [http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/54/54910.html Yahoo! - ALDI Group Company Profile]
* [http://www.medionsupport.com Unofficial ALDI - Medion Hardware Support Forum]
* [http://www.aldiarchives.info/ International ALDI archives - History of ALDI special buys]
* [http://homeschooldadblog.com/04-12-2008/complete-aldis-price-list-grocery-store/ Complete Aldi Price List Scan (May vary slightly over time and by location)]
* [http://aldireview.niesens.com/ Aldi Product Review] Customer discussions about Aldi products. Focuses mainly on stores and products in the USA.
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