Aldi Nord is building a new head office in Essen. After the modernisation of the German outlets, the company now wants to grow in the rest of Europe.
Prepared for the future
Last Friday, the first stone was laid for the new Aldi Nord head office in Essen. The innovative building will be shaped like a giant A and will reunite all of the discounter's supporting services, employing some 800 people. Currently, those services are still spread out across three locations. The complex can also be expanded with an eye towards the future, making room for over 2,000 employees. It paints a clear picture of Aldi Nord's steep European ambitions.
Under the leadership of fresh CEO Torsten Hufnagel, there's a new wind blowing at Aldi Nord, and there is more transparency. Hufnagel was also the driving force behind the very fast upgrade of the stores. "We've upgraded all the German outlets in a year and a half. We only experienced a delay of four weeks," says communication director Florian Scholbeck.
Construction workers modernised 40 to 50 stores per week and fitted them with lighter floors and new furniture. Sales were on hold for only six days. The resulting turnover loss was the most important reason why Aldi Nord went into the red for the first time ever in Germany last year, as the company revealed in December.
An eye cast abroad
According to GfK calculations, Aldi Nord seems to be on the mend this year. The supermarket chain's turnover increased by 2.1% in the January to May period, while other discounters only managed to grow by 1.2% on average. Aldi Nord was able to grow twice as fast as the market because more people visited their stores. By comparison, other discounters lost 1.1% of customer frequency.
After the modernisation wave on the domestic market, the group is now targeting activities abroad. "We see a major potential for growth in all eight European countries where we are present," Scholbeck says. Aldi Nord is active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxemburg, Spain, Portugal and Poland. "The shareholders are behind the European growth programme. All investments are funded by Aldi's own resources," Scholbeck states emphatically.