German discounter Aldi is set to launch a British web shop next year. That announcement came together with the publication of Aldi UK's results for 2014, showing a huge turnover growth of 31 %, but a operational profit drop of 4 %.
Aldi UK follows Aldi Australia's example
At first, Aldi UK will sell boxed wine, adding non-food items to its online product range in the spring of 2016. Aldi Australia, also part of Aldi Süd, already performed this move, as it already sells wine and non-food articles online. They are called Special Buys over there and that will also be the name in the United Kingdom.
The online orders can be delivered home or customers can pick them up at external pick-up points, but it seems unlikely Aldi will use its own stores as a possible pick-up location. If it did decide to do so, it would have to change its stores to handle the delivery of online orders, which would increase the complexity of the entire operation and is opposed to Aldi's business model of doing everything at the lowest possible operational cost.
Lower prices, higher cost
Aldi UK's brick-and-mortar stores already faced lower profits and higher costs in 2014, as the chain had to lower its prices and hire more staff to improve its customer service. All this lowered the operational profit by 4 % to 260 million pounds (more than 350 million euro).
Aldi UK's turnover still increased 31 % to 6.9 billion pounds (9.3 billion euro), thanks to the large number of new stores it opened. Aldi Süd's British subsidiary now has 598 discount stores, although it will keep adding stores: the company has stated it is on course to open its targeted 65 new stores by the end of the year.