In London, Aldi Süd has opened a compact store under the moniker Aldi Local. With this new formula, the discounter is moving into the field of convenience stores. Aldi is also trying out urban concepts elsewhere.
The store opened last week in Balham in the South of London. Aldi has several smaller stores in the capital of the UK, but this is the first one under a different banner. It's a test: the new formula is intended to clarify the distinction between regular Aldi supermarkets and smaller urban stores to shoppers.
According to a spokesperson, Aldi isn't moving in the direction of convenience retail. At 600 sqm, the store is twice the size of an average convenience store. The assortment has decreased by about 300 references to some 1500 SKUs. The most important difference is that the store won't be selling heavier items that are hard to move without a car. In some categories, prices are about 5 percent higher than in bigger Aldi supermarkets and there is more of an emphasis on 'on the go' products, such as sandwiches and salads.
Observers interpret the test as a sign that Aldi is looking to open more (possibly many more) compact urban stores. After all, the hard discounters have also been experimenting with urban formats in other countries. Last December, Aldi opened a small (240 sqm) convenience store in the Lausanne railway station. Lidl is testing a new 500 sqm urban store format in Munich, which doesn't have a parking lot.