What's In Store

Aldi’s $3.4 billion plan will intensify Charlotte’s low-cost grocery competition

In this June 5, 2017, photo, a woman and child walk from Aldi food market, in Salem, N.H. Low-cost grocery chain Aldi says it plans to add more stores in the U.S. over the next five years, meaning more competition for traditional grocers, Walmart and organics-focused chains like Whole Foods.
In this June 5, 2017, photo, a woman and child walk from Aldi food market, in Salem, N.H. Low-cost grocery chain Aldi says it plans to add more stores in the U.S. over the next five years, meaning more competition for traditional grocers, Walmart and organics-focused chains like Whole Foods. AP

Low-cost grocery chain Aldi on Monday outlined an aggressive growth plan that will intensify grocery-store competition in the Charlotte region and beyond.

In a statement, Aldi said it plans to invest $3.4 billion to expand its footprint to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. The grocer has not said in which markets it plans to grow, but it has been hiring in the Charlotte region to staff both its future stores as well as existing, remodeled ones.

Aldi says the expansion would make it the third largest grocery store chain by count in the U.S. The two ahead of it are Wal-Mart and Kroger, which owns Harris Teeter.

Aldi’s most recent investment is in addition to a previously announced plan to spend $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020. The supermarket chain has been opening up newly remodeled stores all around Charlotte recently, including on Albemarle Road and and Wilkinson Boulevard.

“We pioneered a grocery model built around value, convenience, quality and selection and now Aldi is one of America’s favorite and fastest-growing retailers,” CEO Jason Hart said. “We’re growing at a time when other retailers are struggling.”

Aldi, based in Germany, has been hosting hiring events around the Charlotte region to staff its newly renovated stores.

Meanwhile, Aldi’s competitor, Lidl has also been planning an aggressive expansion into the U.S., and has said it is opening its first 20 stores, including some in the Carolinas and Virginia, this week.

Aldi currently operates more than 1,600 stores in 35 states.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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