German discount chain Aldi is paving the road to start conquering Italy, one of Europe’s largest economies. Construction on its distribution center in Oppeano is well underway and a first store lease has been signed.
20 stores before the year's end
According to Italian media, Aldi intends to open twenty stores by the end of the year: its first store was touted to be in Trento (some 120 kilometers from the distribution center), but now, sources indicate Merano (200 kilometers away) could actually be first as the chain signed a lease for a store location there.
The German discounter is looking to expand all across the Italian peninsula, but its first wave of stores is focused on the north-east of the country. It will definitely face stiff competition from other discount chains, notably its traditional adversary Lidl (from the Schwarz Group) and Penny Market (which belongs to another German company, Rewe).
Together, these competitors have 900 stores across Italy and their huge lead has fed speculations that Aldi would be willing to acquire another chain to get up to speed faster, but no one was willing to comment on those rumours.