A new, compact store format is Aldi‘s way to becoming the go-to convenience store for inhabitants of Brussels. The German discounter has plans for six more projects with a combined worth of 35 million euros.
Low-price city store
Aldi opened its 23rd Brussels store this week, but it still was a special opening: with only 600 sqm, the new store near the University site in Ixelles is only half as big as a regular Aldi. However, this is not a classic City concept: despite the store’s reduced size, it offers the whole Aldi assortment of 1,600 references. In doing so, the German chain adapts itself to the urban consumer behaviour of shopping more often, but for smaller quantities.
A major difference with city centre stores in other chains is the pricing, Aldi’s Erik Winters says: “Our urban stores are not more expensive; we are one of the few chains to maintain the same pricing throughout the country.” These lower prices in a proximity store is, according to a discounter, a unique selling point in the Belgian capital.
As spaces in the city centre are limited, Aldi has taken a creative approach. The chain uses smaller shopping trolleys, which in turn allowed it to reduce the width of aisles. Products have fewer facings, while shelves are deeper so they can accommodate more stock. There only three (extra-small) tills and a limited parking of ten places, as local residents and students are no regular car users.
Aldi will focus this compact concept on Brussels first: “This is a city with a growing population. We see a lot of potential, we want to get closer to the people of Brussels and become the proximity store for the capital”, expansion manager Geert De Roy explains. He sees most opportunities in the south and the east of the city, although most of the six current projects are tin the north. Not all of them will be as reduced in size: this depends of local circumstances.