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Australia: backgrounds on Aldi's launch of new 'Corner Store' concept

Discount Retail Chain Aldi Australia (German family owned) has launched a new smaller format store called Aldi Corner Store on Mount Street in North Sydney, with the store featuring both some standard Aldi features and some interesting new concepts.

Still Aldi, but format design and operations flexed to suit the location The new store at around 500-600 sqm is about half the size of a standard Aldi stores and is the first of its kind in Australia. The concept, although occupying the same unit as a long term standard Aldi, retains some features that are undeniably linked to the retailer. With a strong focus on efficiency, simple navigation and its famous Special Buys (in&out) retained. However, a refined store layout to reflect how people will shop the store, a modern interior design, wooden fixtures, plus bright and colourful murals by street artist and muralist Joel Moore, aka Mulga. The opening hours have also been extended compared to a standard store, opening 07:00-21:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00-20:00 at weekends. The design was created by Aldi's store design partners, Landini Associates, who worked on the naming, identity, interior design and all graphic in-store communication.

Smart ranging and upweighted convenience solutions The store has a strong range of fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, frozen items, ready meals, BWS and grocery items that would expect to find in an Aldi. Where Aldi has been smart is through removing larger format pack sizes to free up space and squeeze its existing offer into a smaller footprint. Certain products have also been merchandised slightly differently to help drive impulse purchase, for example more refrigeration in categories such as BWS. It has also introduced a large Food-to-go range at the store entrance. The significant upweighted range features lunch and dinner options including sandwiches, wraps, sushi, salads from AU$3.29, plus fruit, drinks and yoghurts merchandised alongside. Innovations that differentiate and typically not found in a standard Aldi The store also features some new innovations. At the front of the store there is an artisan bakery and coffee kiosk run by Sonoma, a NSW bakery business, serving barista coffee and pastries via a hole in the wall counter. Some new and more premium ranges have been introduced and featured more strongly, such as the Wild Origins artisan bakery range of 12 products. There is also an OzHarvest 'Juice for Good' vending machine that freshly squeezes imperfect oranges, helping reduce food waste. The profits from the juice machine are donated to OzHarvest, with every juice sold enabling the donation of one meal to those in need. Aldi has introduce self service checkouts into the store to help drive a faster, more convenient and efficient payment experience. Finally, there is even a 'Pup Parking' zone allowing pet owners to tie up their dogs while they shop. What do we think? The new store format will help Aldi expand into new locations that its standard format cannot accommodate, it will also compete directly with Woolworths and Coles' push into smaller urban supermarkets of a similar size. Although a first in Australia, Aldi has been testing smaller and more urban formats globally. Aldi has opened a number of smaller Aldi Local convenience-orientated formats in the UK over the past few years, but expansion has been slow and steady. It's entry into China has also seen it focus on opening new style urban stores (which Landini Associates also designed), with new foodservice concepts, a new design, a greater use of tech in-store and bright murals, some features similar to those seen in North Sydney. The store is a departure from Aldi's standard operating model and trading smaller stores comes with different challenges. Achieving a scalable model and suitable sites for stores can take time, but the retailer has confirmed that it will test a further four Corner Stores over the next year.

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