ALDI will begin 2020 with nearly 2,000 stores

From 2008 to 2018, ALDI doubled its size in the U.S. The retailer continues to grow.

The planned opening of 20 ALDI stores in November and nine more locations in December has the Batavia, Ill.-based retailer on the cusp of 2,000 stores.

The company currently operates 1,963 stores nationwide, putting it on a trajectory to achieve a five-year plan communicated in June 2017 to operate 2,500 stores by the end of 2022. ALDI’s rate of expansion makes it America’s fastest-growing food retailer with roughly 200 units having opened annually since 2017 when the company operated roughly 1,600 locations.

Retailers such as The Kroger Co., Albertsons Cos. and Walmart operate more locations than ALDI, but their capital expenditure budgets in recent years have shifted away from the expansion of selling space to focus more on store remodeling, supply chain and digital investments.

While ALDI’s growth in the U.S. began slowly, the retailer has ramped up its presence in the past decade. From 2008 to 2018, ALDI doubled its size in the U.S.

“I’m extraordinarily impressed with ALDI,” Carl Jorgensen, executive vice president of Chicago-based market researcher Linkage Research & Consulting and an expert on thought leadership in private brands, told Store Brands earlier this year. “ALDI has raised the profile of private brands and raised its own reputation among consumers.”

Simon Johnstone, director of retail insight for Boston-based retail consultant Kantar Consulting, says it took a while for grocery industry pundits to start talking about ALDI’s impact, considering the retailer has been in the U.S. for more than 40 years. But the talk is happening now and is growing louder.

“ALDI didn’t come to the U.S. with a lot of fanfare,” Johnstone said. “It has been sort of a sleeping giant in that sense. … But retailers are really starting to take ALDI seriously as a competitor.”

ALDI’s shopper base has blossomed to about 40 million customers monthly from 25 million in 2014.

ALDI was Store Brands2019 Retailer of the Year.