Why is Aldi's grocery business so successful

When a German enters an American supermarket for the first time, he usually feels a mixture of surprise, overwhelming and overwhelming. Some shops are so big that you could even host a football game in them, there are at least 187 different types of spread. And then the employees! Oh, the staff! They constantly ask how you are and whether you are feeling comfortable and everything is to your satisfaction.

At one of the at least twelve checkouts, one employee then scans the products, another packs them in bags - and of course asked beforehand whether they would prefer those made of plastic or those made of paper. If the star constellation is favorable or it is sufficiently attractive, an employee pushes the shopping cart up to the car, wishes you a great day and brings the car back to the entrance. What a service!

Even so, branches of the German supermarket chain Aldi, better known for their simplicity, are extremely popular in the United States. There are now more than 1,270 branches in 32 states, and since 2011 even one in Manhattan - where not even the world's largest retail group Walmart has an offshoot. According to the company, 25 million Americans are shopping at Aldi, and the first branch is to be opened in California soon. The group itself does not publish any balance sheets. Industry experts estimate sales in the USA for 2013 at nine billion US dollars.

But please do not use a credit card

When an American goes shopping at Aldi for the first time, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Lansing, Michigan, for example, they are also surprised and overwhelmed at first - but most of all they are overwhelmed: a deposit for the shopping cart. No branded products, but no-name items stacked on top of each other. Nobody packs your purchases in bags. Oh yes: a bag has to be paid for. But please do not use a credit card.

Yes, that's right: in a country where even chewing gum is paid for without cash at the gas station (but anachronistic checks are still written), Aldi only offers cash and debit cards. The service desert Germany also exists in the United States. At Aldi. Why is the discounter so popular anyway?

The prospectus with the savings offers of the week provides a first indication of the popularity of Aldi. "Aldi truth # 66: Our low prices are worth celebrating", it says - Aldi truth number 66 says that the low prices should be celebrated. This week there's a packet of sugar for $ 1.49, a Star Wars character for $ 8.99, and turkey for $ 1.19 a pound.

Aldi as the winner of the financial crisis

"Sugar is sugar, flour is flour," says Addie Finelli, who is pushing a full shopping cart to the checkout. The 30-year-old teacher discovered Aldi three years ago when a newspaper pointed to a study that found Aldi in Michigan was almost 20 percent cheaper than Walmart and even more than 30 percent cheaper than local supermarkets.

"You can save a lot on basic groceries," says Finelli. "I don't need anyone to put my purchases in bags or bring my car back, I can do that myself." And if you know that credit card payments are not possible at Aldi, bring cash or a debit card with you. "No problem," says Finelli. Service desert? Excellent! As long as prices are low.

Due to the spartan concept, Aldi is considered one of the winners of the financial crisis in the United States, im Time Magazine In 2008 it read: "Aldi: a grocer for the recession" - Aldi, the grocer for the recession. It has officially been over for four years, but according to a study by the market research institute Reportbuyer, this crisis has led consumers to rethink: the ketchup on the hot dog no longer necessarily has to be from Heinz, the breakfast cereals no longer necessarily from Kellogg's.

Lidl also wants to go to the USA

According to a survey by Marketforce in July, Aldi is the country's most popular low-cost discounter, with Trader Joe's topping the list of the best supermarkets overall. Now it gets interesting: The American branches of Aldi belong to Aldi Süd, Trader Joe's since 1979 to Aldi Nord. There are almost 500 branches in the USA, almost half of them in California. Trader Joe's is known as a hip supermarket with ecological products that are still not overpriced - as if made for the Californian lifestyle. Sales are estimated at eight billion dollars a year.

So there are two strategies of the two companies separated by the Aldi equator, both of which are currently extremely successful. So successful that the competition is lured in. Klaus Gehrig, head of the Schwarz Group, said in June that there could soon be Lidl branches in the United States. In a first step in 2015, around 100 offshoots are planned. It seems worth it in a country where hardly anyone complains about the service wasteland, as long as prices are low enough.

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