Aldi hints at plans to roll out click and collect as part of big 2023 plans

0
50
The frontage and brand logo of a branch of German discount retailer Aldi, taken in a local retail park on Wirral, UK on a sunny afternoon

THE Aldi boss wants “Brits to celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank.”

It comes as he gears up for the discounter to poach more shoppers from its rivals this month than ever before.

Earlier this year Aldi launched a cashier-less store in Greenwich, London

In an exclusive interview with HOAR, Giles Hurley, Aldi’s chief executive, said the supermarket was gearing up for its biggest Christmas on record as the cost of living crisis has prompted shoppers to switch from every other supermarket.

Two-thirds of British households now shop with Aldi for bargain staples but also its cut-price Wagyu beef and bottles of £14.99 Veuve Monsigny, which is now the UK’s second biggest champagne brand after Moet Chandon.

In September, Aldi overtook Morrisons to be crowned the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket, and over the past twelve weeks, it’s gained over 1.5 million more shoppers, according to Kantar. 

Mr Hurley said: “We might be in the ‘Big Four’, but we will never be part of that club, we’re focused on our model.”

He reasons Aldi’s success is largely down to its smaller stores and grocery ranges while 90 per cent of what it sells is its own brand, so it can sell groceries for less. “We are committed to not being beaten on price.”

Aldi’s rapid market share gains have prompted Tesco and Sainsbury’s to launch their own price-matching scheme to stop an exodus of shoppers.

Mr Hurley believes the promotions are a “feather in our cap because it shows that Aldi is the benchmark on price.”

As it has become more of a threat, rival bosses have been quick to point out that Aldi is hiking its prices by more than others and Which? recently confirmed the discounter had raised prices by 19% compared to a year ago.

These above inflation hikes have raised concerns that poorer households are squeezed further because there isn’t a cheaper alternative.

Mr Hurley defends the grocer saying shoppers care about pounds and pennies, rather than percentages, and Aldi has put the average price of an item up by 12p, less than its nearest competitor which has raised prices by 14p while discount peer Lidl has increased it by 17p.

While the cheapest, Aldi is not immune to inflationary pressures and this year its profits dived by 86% to just £36million.

Mr Hurley says that not being dictated to by public investors or buyout group’s exit timetables was the “luxury of private ownership.”

“We can take a long-term view and we believe long-term profitability is linked to growth and scale.

“Our market share and growth is very much determined by us having the lowest food prices in the UK.”

Mr Hurley admits that Aldi, which will have 980 stores by the end of this year has fallen short of its target of having 1,000 stores by the end of 2022.

He blames the delay on lockdowns, labour shortages, planning red tape and interference from rivals, rather than a lack of ambition.

“We might have slowed down, but we’ll never stop.”

It is now racing to open 16 new shops in the last three weeks of this year and Mr Hurley says that it will reach 1,000 stores next year and keep going.

There continue to be gaps in the south of the country and the capital.

Earlier this year it also launched a cashier-less store in Greenwich, south east London in the style of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

“I don’t think people would have expected innovation like that from this group, but there’s a few ripples that need to be ironed out before we roll it out further.”

In January Aldi ditched Deliveroo deliveries and is now concentrating on its click-and-collect service that’s currently from 200 stores.

While rival Lidl is steadfastly shunning online sales, Hurley says “watch this space” when it comes to rolling out click and collect further.

“Online grocery spending might have slowed, but it’s still 11% of the food market, it’s still going to be important.”