Aldi joins top table to create a grocery ‘Big Five’

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UK takes low-cost, no-frills, obscure brand food shopping formula to heart

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t has only taken Aldi 32 years to reach the top table in British retailing. What began as a single store in Stitchford, near Birmingham in April 1990, is now a chain of approximately 1000 outlets.

In that time its formula for low-cost, no-frills, obscure brand food shopping has seen its market share rapidly surpass that of long-established rivals such as Waitrose and Co-op.

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Today analysts Kantar confirms what has been an imperative for years. Aldi has changed the “Big Four” to the “Big Five”, leaving behind its more established rival, Morrison.

It’s hard to tell how many Waitrose shoppers have traded all the way to Aldi, but the John Lewis-owned partnership was the second major loser in the latest Kantar data. Its sales were down 4.7 per cent in one year and the market share fell from 5.1 per cent to 4.7 per cent.

At the same time, Okado – its former online partner – said the average basket fell 6% to £116, a big drop at a time of 12.4% grocery inflation.

This is a time of great turmoil for a sector that has been dominated by just four companies for as long as most people can remember. Aldi and Lidl stores are still popping up across the country—at least not in high-spending London—as hard-pressed shoppers pivot to brands they may never have considered in large numbers.

Where will Aldi be in the next 32 years? Hard to say, but both Asda and Sainsbury’s will look tough in their rear view mirrors for years to come as German discounters continue their remarkable rides.


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