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Germany: Aldi Nord stores will be renovated by 2023

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Discount Retail Chain Aldi Nord Germany (German family owned) store in Wandlitz, Brandenburg, is surprised: Suddenly everything looked different for loyal Aldi customers. The fruit and veg department had moved far forward, right by the entrance, and was much more spacious than before. Previously this was in the back of the store. The market was converted for two days. Opposite fruit and vegetables, there are now larger refrigerators for sensitive fresh produce and convenience items such as snacks and drinks.

But the store in Brandenburg is no exception. Because in the future, all Aldi Nord branches will implement the new concept. The first tests have been running since November 2021 in newly built or modernized Aldi Nord stores, for example in the Werl, Radevormwald, Hannoversch Münden, Nortorf and Sievershausen regions at the beginning of the year. The discounter is now rolling out the concept across the board.

"We have decided to implement the 'Store Layout 2.0 DE' in all German ALDI Nord stores," Aldi Nord spokeswoman Serra Schlesinger confirmed to Business Insider for the first time. In the future, the fruit and vegetable department will be at the entrance to every store in the Aldi North area. "All markets should be converted in the course of 2023," said the spokeswoman.

Aldi is thus breaking with a long-standing tradition: the shelves in Aldi stores used to be arranged according to the daily routine. Breakfast utensils such as baked goods, tea, coffee and Co. first, then the campaign food, which was previously in a mesh basket near the entrance and so on.

Now the newspapers and magazines are moving closer to the cash register, as are the food special offers. The drugstore products as well as wine and sparkling wine find their place opposite the non-food promotional goods, and the aisles look wider here too. The fresh food department is becoming more prominent and spacious in general.

The retail chain justified the decision with a change in purchasing behavior. “We notice that our customers are paying more and more attention to freshness and private labels when it comes to groceries and are now planning their purchases based on fresh items,” says Schlesinger. So that this department receives more attention, it is placed prominently at the entrance. "We want to be the number 1 fresh food discounter," says the Aldi spokeswoman.

Aldi Nord is remodeling for the third time

In view of the weakening sales figures, Aldi Nord has rebuilt and modernized the stores several times in recent years, and changed the concepts again and again. Since 2018, the discounter's regional companies alone have invested around 800 million euros (US$795 million) in the "Aniko" project, the Aldi Nord in-store concept. The new concept is no longer called Aniko, but internally bears the name "Store Layout 2.0 DE" and is already the third attempt to redesign the stores. Because before the Corona year 2020, in which Aldi Nord was in the black again for the first time with net sales of around 11.7 billion euros (US$11.6 billion), the discounter experienced two years of losses.

The discounter extensively evaluated the pilot phase of the first converted branches in order to find out how the innovations were received by customers. To do this, the company analyzed key figures such as sales, the number of receipts and the average receipt for the modernized branches. As always, Aldi does not comment on how the conversion will affect Aldi's business and whether it will generate higher sales. The company also says nothing about the amount of investment, only this much: "We wouldn't invest if it wasn't worth it."

"No harmonization with Aldi Süd"

Aldi is following suit, because many other retailers such as Rewe or discounters such as Lidl and its sister company Aldi Süd have long since switched the fresh food department to the entrance. According to Schlesinger, however, the conversion should not be about moving closer to the sister company Aldi Süd. "The conversion is not an adjustment to Aldi Süd, but an adaptation to changing customer needs."

The remodeled stores are also expected to be more spacious in general. A "strict arrangement of shelves" and a wider main passage should also improve the processes for the employees. Walking distances are minimized, for example, by placing the action area close to the warehouse gate. The new branch concept should also “optimally use the available space” and “reduce costs”. No frills and uniform, standardized processes to save costs - the well-known Aldi principle.

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