Aldi stores are getting a $5.3 billion update - and the result is almost unrecognizable
Business Insider/Hayley Peterson
- Aldi is spending $5.3 billion to build 800 new stores and remodel existing locations.
- I toured one of the newly remodeled stores, and it was a vastly different shopping experience from the older stores.
- The biggest changes were in the fresh department, which was larger and offered a greater variety of organic produce.
Aldi is halfway through its $5.3 billion plan to build 800 new stores in the United States and update hundreds of existing locations.
I toured a newly remodeled store in St. Charles, Illinois, this week, and it was nearly unrecognizable.
Here's what the new store looks like, compared to a couple of older stores in Richmond, Virginia:
Aldi's new and remodeled stores feature 20% more shopping space than the older stores. This newly remodeled store is 12,000 square feet.
Beige tiled floors helped brighten the interior of the store, along with additional lighting fixtures on the walls.
New, back-lit signs added color to the walls.
By comparison, the aisles in an older store I visited in 2015 were darker and shorter, and they featured gray flooring.
The new design, on the other hand, added more refrigerated space across the store, with new sleek signage featuring white text against a black backdrop.
In an older store I visited in Richmond, Virginia, this week, the refrigerated space was limited and lacked signage.
The biggest, most obvious change in the new store was the fresh department, which featured perishable goods like produce and dairy.
In one of the older stores I visited, fresh produce was largely limited to this small, center-aisle fixture.
Few organic items were available, and most of the goods were packaged or bagged.
Aldi's new stores now feature a much more extensive selection of fruits and vegetables.
This new store also featured a large selection of refrigerated produce.
Cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, and broccoli were among the vegetables for sale.
Many of the items were bagged.
But the store now also offers a number of loose produce items, such as tomatoes and avocados.
In addition to the physical changes that Aldi is making to its stores, the company is now embarking on its biggest product refresh in history by adding more fresh, organic, vegetarian, and vegan items to its US stores.
In the new store, I found a huge increase in the number of organic items available.
Avocados, blueberries, strawberries, and broccoli were among the many organic goods for sale. Aldi is growing the number of organic goods it carries as it increasingly builds more stores in more affluent areas.
Once the product rollout is complete in early 2019, about 20% of the items in Aldi stores will be new, the company said.
The new additions will also grow Aldi's fresh food offering by more than 40%, according to the company.
Some of the new items include veggie noodles, organic chicken breasts, and pre-marinated meats ...
... along with sliced fruits ...
... and grab-and-go items such as single-serve guacamole and hummus, salad bowls, and quinoa bowls.
More than 90% of the products in Aldi stores are private-label, but some national brands are scattered throughout.
Aldi's large percentage of private-label goods help the company keep costs low.
Aldi also saves money by displaying products in the boxes in which they were shipped. This cuts down on the amount of time employees spend stocking shelves, which in turn saves labor costs.
Overall, the newly remodeled Aldi store was brighter and bigger with far more to offer in the fresh department compared to the older stores.
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