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Technology & Innovation

German Discount Grocer Invades Thrifty America

When the financial crisis struck, the ultra-cheap German supermarket chain Aldi saw an opportunity. It has been expanding rapidly in the US.

What’s the Big Idea?

In 30 years ultra-cheap German supermarket chain Aldi has slowly ventured into the land of opportunity. But now that cheaper shopping has become a necessity (and lower pay a reality) for many Americans, Aldi has seized the chance, opening about 100 (non-union) stores throughout the US each year since the crisis began in 2008. Recently New York got its first Aldi supermarket and with it, the German discounter has achieved a foray into the world’s center of consumption.

What’s the Latest Development?

How has Aldi managed to sneak into places that giants like Wal-Mart have been unable to penetrate—like New York City? Various factors are at work but one is the promise hanging near Aldi front doors: “Our products are on average 45 percent cheaper than at other supermarkets.” Spiegel says the biggest barrier to Aldi’s foray into the New World, however, is the loyalty of Americans to the big brands: “The soup should be Campbell’s and the ketchup from Heinz.” As in the German Aldi stores, almost 95 percent of products in the US are comprised of its own brands and unfamiliar to American consumers.


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