The new format stores are 20% — or 3,000 square feet — larger than existing stores, allowing for more displays. These include an enhanced wine section up front, which leads into a bigger-than-before baked goods section. Produce – which is getting more real estate and new organic lines — is more prominent, as are meats.
A store employee told Forbes that customers' common first reaction to the new format is, “Oh my God, the store is so beautiful!” Aldi already attracts 40 million shopping trips annually, and is aiming for 60 million by 2020.
Have no doubts about it: ALDI is marching to a different drummer — one whose leader sharpened up the uniforms, added new players and is telling the world, “We're different and better, and we're a champion band!”
And while already walking over competitors in comparison contests and grabbing more market share wherever they march, Aldi is aiming to keep the parade going as they do what CEO Jason Hart described in the company statement as continuing "to invest in ALDI customers.”
Adding stores at a rapid pace — 650 by the end of next year, bringing the total to at least 2,000 — and other initiatives like enhancing its product lines are Aldi's way of building a strong competitive defense against Lidl, another discount grocery chain from Germany that's about to invade the U.S.
While Aldi would love to have every American as a customer, its stores' new look and feel is aimed at that huge swath in the middle – those who are less likely to turn to expanded-range dollar stores, or those who will forever be drawn to fancier and more selectively stocked stores.
Competitors will need to sharpen their pencils — and their swords. It would be foolish to bet Aldi won't hit their growth targets. The upcoming battle is going to be an epic one. There are already a lot of players in food retailing. With both Aldi and Lidl planning on massive growth in the U.S., and with dollar stores expanding into fresh grocery ranges and opening new stores daily, something has to give.