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Aldi puts expansion in high gear

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BATAVIA, Ill. — Aldi has store grand openings planned in a half-dozen states as the grocer proceeds with a coast-to-coast expansion that by 2022 will take its store count to 2,500 in 36 states, from about 1,900 today.

Aldi’s website identifies cities in Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas where new and remodeled stores will soon be opened.

The Germany-based company recently opened its first store in Bentonville, Ark., near Walmart’s global headquarters. In Minnesota, Aldi expects to have at least 70 locations by year’s end, putting it within range of Cub, the largest supermarket chain in the North Star State, with 77 stores.

Aldi said its expansion is expected to create 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices over the next three years.

Its expansion is introducing thousands of new shoppers to the chain’s no-frills retailing model. Aldi keeps grocery prices about as low as they can be by displaying items in the cases they were shipped in. Customers deposit a quarter to rent a shopping cart and get their money back when they return it, minimizing the need to pay employees to retrieve them from the parking lot. Aldi has no plastic or paper bags on hand, and no one to help customers bag their groceries, about 90% of which are store brands.

Shoppers started lining up more than 2½ hours before an Aldi store opening July 25 in DeKalb, Ill. Store openings are also on tap for the retailer’s first store in Montgomery, Ala.; eight new stores in Minnesota; and four in North ­Carolina.


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