May 17, 2021

The family grocery business that conquered the world


From a single store in a German city to over 2,000 stores in the US alone today, Aldi has been on a mission to take over the world recently. Click or scroll though to find out how the discount store got so big. All dollar amounts in US dollars.



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Aldi’s rags to riches story began back in 1913 when Frau Anna Albrecht opened the Karl Albrecht Spirituosen und Lebensmittel grocery store in Schonnebeck, a low-income suburb of Essen, Germany.



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Not long after the end of World War II, Anna’s sons Karl and Theo took over their mother’s business and transformed it into ‘the first discount store in the world’.



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The brothers founded Albrecht KG in 1948, opening four stores in the local area not long after.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


To avoid paying expensive overheads and to build their business slowly but surely, Theo and Karl Albrecht decided to concentrate on developing a chain of small supermarkets. The compact stores’ popularity spread through word of mouth – the Albrechts kept costs down by refusing to pay for advertising. By 1950, they owned 13 stores in Germany’s Ruhr Valley.



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In 1954, keen to innovate, the entrepreneurial brothers made retail history again by opening Germany’s first self-service store – with success. By 1960, Theo and Karl Albrecht owned 300 stores with an annual turnover of millions.



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That same year, the brothers split the chain into two separate groups after falling out over whether they should sell tobacco products. Theo headed Albrecht-Diskont Nord, which sold them, while Karl became the CEO of Albrecht-Diskont Süd, which did not.



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In 1962, the brothers, who were still working together despite their disagreement, decided to name the groups Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, taken from the first two letters of Albrecht and Diskont. Aldi Nord took over stores in the north of Germany while Aldi Süd became responsible for stores in the south. The border between the two became known as the ‘Aldi Equator’. The two businesses became financially and legally separate in 1966. By this time, there were 200 Aldi Süd stores in Germany.



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The Aldi group made its first forays into the international market in 1967 when Aldi Süd took over Hofer, an Austrian grocery chain. Aldi Nord joined in when it expanded to Belgium in 1973.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


By 1991, the Aldi group was operating stores in eight European countries and the US. Over the next three decades the group expanded to Ireland, Australia, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary and Poland.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


It’s not all been plain sailing for the Aldi Group though. In 2010, Aldi Süd pulled out of Greece after just two years having invested an estimated €800 million, equivalent to €914.5 million ($1.1bn/£837m) in today’s money. Reports from Greek media suggested that the retailer could not compete with fellow German budget chain Lidl, which had an established presence in the country.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


30/30 SLIDES

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