Aldi: Family Business to Global Grocery Chain - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1856 Words
Date:  2023-04-26


Aldi, an abbreviation for Albrecht Discount, is a family business that started off in Essen, Germany in 1913. The company was started by Anna Albrecht and was later taken over and expanded by his sons named Theo and Karl by 1948 to four groceries across the US. From that time, the chain has expanded to include several other locations across the globe, with beyond 1,600 groceries being in the US. The past few decades have seen the globalization of the world's economy attract the focus of many businesses towards the idea of global entrepreneurship, which is a merger of innovatory, forward-looking and risk-seeking behavior in crossing national boundaries. The internationalization of a company relies on the opportunity identified in the country the company wishes to expand to (McMullen et al., 2007). The majority of the world's leading companies began as small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in their local nations before seeking to expand their markets in the rest of the world. Businesses thrive because of the identification of a gap or an opportunity in the global market and advancing it (Davidsson, 2015).

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Aldi is one of the companies that started off in the rural areas in 1913, before gradually growing nationally and later internationally. The company was established in the remote areas of Essen in Germany and was referred to as Albrecht Discount. The company was abbreviated Aldi in 1962 (Wortmann, 2004). During the mid-1960s, the firm was divided in half since there was a misunderstanding on whether the company could include cigarettes in their sales. Theo managed the chain of stores in the northern part, whereas Karl managed the operations in the southern part. The two stores were referred to as Aldi Nord, for that which sold cigarettes, and Aldi Sud, for that which did not. Aldi targeted the small towns and rural areas and discounted the goods to make them affordable for many of the people in such settings. In 1968, the company had expanded to over 200 Aldi Sud locations. Aldi Sud is the branch of the firm that operates in the United States, while Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord are both growing outside the US. The two branches of stores still operate separately. The first United States Aldi store was set up in Iowa, in 1976. Today, Aldi enjoys a good market share in the United States behind Walmart and Kroger (Voigt et al., 2017).

Background Information of Aldi

Aldi started off in 1946 when Theo and Karl took control over the business from their mum's grocery in Essen. The two gents expanded the store from a small provincial grocery to one of the largest German retailers. The major competitive advantage of the company was its low prices on merchandise. The business was hit by a constraint in the 1960s when the two brothers disagreed on whether the company could start selling cigarettes. The disagreements led to the company splitting into two with one branch operating in north Germany and the other operating in the south (Kneffel, 2019). Aldi Nord operated in the north part of Germany and Aldi Sud operates in the south and currently in the United Kingdom. Karl managed Aldi Sud. The name Aldi is an abbreviated form of Albrecht and a discount. The company is now renowned for its lower price policies that assume multi-purchase offers like buying one and getting an extra one in return. The organization further emphasizes on own-brand goods that account for about 90% of sales in the United Kingdom. Aldi entered the United Kingdom in 1990 and built its 500th store in 2019. From the time it was started, Aldi remained infamously private. The notorious privacy can be attributed to the kidnapping of Theo for 17 days during 1971. The family had to pay a ransom of $3 million for Theo to be released. According to reports, Theo went to court to attempt to have the ransom categorized as a tax-excess business expenditure (Pall & Hanf, 2013).

Aldi's Business Model

Since its time of establishment in 1913, Aldi runs limited assortment stores, as referred to in the grocery trade. Aldi has driven the retail idea that features lower overhead and parsimonious choice, to its leanest extreme. Different from the many supermarket chains that constantly increase their goods provision and selling platforms, Aldi limits the choice at its stores to around 500 items. The majority of these goods are bundled with grocery or dry products. Other grocery formats surpass Aldi's common lineup by more than ten times. Close to 95% of what Aldi offers is traded under private labels, and part of these items are manufactured strictly for the chain. An investigation that conducted in 1993 on limited-assortment concept revealed that fruitful discounters as Aldi worked in close proximity with the producers to model items which were cost-effective to convey, store, and trade compared to name-brand products. National brands are occasionally provided, but numerous industry viewers think that Aldi stores them to illuminate its rebates.

Aldi saves money in numerous ways by limiting customer selection. Aldi has small stores compared to its rivals. By limiting consumer choice, Aldi saves money in several ways. Further, Aldi's shops circumvent costly barcode scanners which are utilized by other shops to inventory and price items. In lieu, a stock person who occasionally acts as the shop manager merely sets out cases of items, opens them, and puts a price tag close to them. Cashiers learn by heart the price lists and sometimes are questioned on the knowledge of the shop's prices. The decision by Aldi of not selling fresh meat also saves the firm cash since it has the ability to bypass high refrigeration costs and steep wages required by meat-cutters.

Aldi also maintains labor expenses low in different ways. Consumers are charged four cents for each bag and are required to bag their groceries. Consumers may also hire a shopping cart for 25 cents and are given back their quarter when they return back the cart to the front of the shop. This system saves Aldi the cost it would use to pay an employee to gather the carts in the parking area or refund the lost ones. The firm also fails to list the telephone numbers of their shops to prevent the workers from wasting time to respond to calls. The austerity measures adopted by Aldi enables it to hold workforce costs to about 4% of the store sales, as opposed to 10-12% by many supermarkets (Hollis, 2015).

Though there are no exact figures of Aldi's financial performance, generally, limited-assortment shops have been known to accumulate total margins of around 10% as opposed to the 26% for average supermarkets. Limited-assortment shops compensate for the low total margin by stocking fast-selling products only, thus generating more inventory turns than common supermarkets. In the Supermarket News of 1989 by Carol Fischman, it was estimated that limited-assortment shops realized close to two times as many yearly inventories turn compared to the average supermarket. In 1993, the Economist carried out an investigation and realized that hard discounters also enjoyed cash flow favorably since they regularly sell their items prior to the producers' bills.

Aldi's International Expansion

The increased technological advancement and business globalization over the past few years has been identified as the competing factor for organizations in the global market. Many companies try to enter the global market but only a few manage to sustain their competitive advantage. Aldi is one of the companies that decided to go global after extending in their local country. Going global is never a walk in the park for businesses, and it requires an exclusively unique approach. The best approach for going global is directed opportunism, which sustains opportunism and pliability inside a wide path set by a systematic framework (Hutchinson et al., 2009).

Aldi's undercover and efficacious global expansion to its current status was realized slowly. Initially established in 1913, the firm restructured its plan and constructed important reserves within the post-World War II German grocery bazaar. The firm silently extended into other European countries. Aldi created a large influence in Belgium, where researchers estimate the firm had 260 shops as well as the US $1 billion sales in 1992. Further, Aldi accumulated about 5% of the grocery trade in Holland by the dawn of the 1990s. Additionally, the company built approximately 130 shops in Austria, in addition to the 110 outlets in Denmark. However, while Aldi founded its presence in adjacent nations at the end of the 20th century, Germany remained its initial market. At the end of the 1980s, the company ran around 50 different firms, which in return operated more than 2,000 shops to the west of Germany. Appraised sales of between $9.3-10.99 billion positioned Aldi as Germany's top food retailer with around 13% of the grocery market share (Brandes, 2015).

The 1970s-80s saw Aldi's primary trials to launch its presence in three global markets including the US, the UK, and France. The company set up its outlet in the United States in 1976 when limited-assortment shops first acquired a beachhead. During that period, other established retailers like Kroger and Jewel Food Stores tried out the model, before later abandoning it.

The initial Aldi American stores were established in the rural locations of the Midwest. A warehouse was set up in Batavia, Illinois, where the firm's headquarters in the US was still situated in the 1990s. A few years after setting up its first shop in the United States, Aldi established more than 150 stores in Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Fresh distribution areas were set up in Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, besides warehouses in Ohio and Indiana being finished by the end of ten years (Berg, 2019).

Aldi saw the increment in the speed of its expansion in the United States at the end of the 1980s and the dawn of the 1990s, extending its base from the Midwest to the East Coast. The firm began constructing large warehouses away from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Completion of the distribution hub was scheduled to mid-1994, and the management of the firm told domestic planners that they anticipated that the construction would run at full capacity, including supplying to 60 fresh stores by the beginning of the century. Researchers appraised that the company's American operations rose from around 200 shops during 1990 to approximately 400 by 1993, the year when the company made close to US $1.2 billion sales (Rohwedder & Kesmodel, 2009).

The company made its first entry in Britain in 1989. Some analysts posited that the company prepared itself well to exploit the nation's large-margin grocery industry, particularly during the common economic decline that the UK experienced in the 1980s. Another realized that the firm was greater than any aboriginal chain in the country, had more purchasing strength, had low overhead prices, was richer and was not accountable to any stakeholder. Yet some analysts doubted the firm's prospect success in the country. In 1987's Suzanne Bidlake's Marketing piece, Fiona Gilmore rightly foretold the tough times Aldi would have to appeal to British consumers inured to posh supermarkets as well as national brands. It was gossiped that the firm wanted to set up 200 shops between 1989-1994, but Aldi failed to reach the mark by about 100 shops. Aldi faced a difficult time in the UK and had to amend its marketing policy so that they started stocking national marques (Deshpande & Quelch, 2004).

Unshaken, the company proceeded to adapt to the market in...

Cite this page

Aldi: Family Business to Global Grocery Chain - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 26). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism