Aldi, Batavia, Illinois, recently announced a $3.4 billion capital investment plan in the United States to expand from a footprint of 1,600 stores today to 2,500 by 2022. The retailer also is in the process of investing $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020.
Hubert Weber, the president of Europe for Mondelez International, Northbrook, Illinois, has worked with discount retailers for many years and said they will bring a new dynamic to the United States.
“They are part of our distribution strategy. They fit nicely in the balance between consumer reach and profitability.”
Weber said he hears some of the same concerns from executives in the United States that he heard from executives in France and the United Kingdom when Aldi and Lidl entered those markets.
He added that the notion the success of both retailers is fueled by their focus on private label to be overblown. When Aldi first launched it sold private brands almost exclusively, Weber said. When Lidl launched, its stores featured a mix of branded products and private label brands.
“As their models evolved and they were aiming to get to a higher penetration and get into the neighborhood store space, Aldi integrated more national brands,” he said. “Lidl went a little bit more toward private label.”
“…It makes them much more acceptable for the total portfolio, (the) total basket purchase by the consumer,” he said. “That led overall in their approach to a better balance between price aggressiveness and portfolio. And that is something to keep in mind as we think about the expansion into the US.”