Aldi joins top table to create a grocery ‘Big Five’


t has taken Aldi just 32 years to reach the top table of British retailing. What started as a single store at Stechford near Birmingham in April 1990 is now a chain of almost 1000 outlets.

In that time its formula of low-cost, no-frills, obscure brands food shopping has seen its market share rapidly overtake far longer established rivals such as Waitrose and the Co-op.

Today analysts Kantar confirmed what has been an inevitability for years. Aldi has turned the “Big Four” into a “Big Five” after reeling in its more established rival Morrisons.

It is hard to tell how many Waitrose shoppers have traded all the way down to Aldi but the John Lewis-owned partnership was the other big loser in the latest Kantar data. Its sales were down 4.7% in a year with market share falling from 5.1% to 4.7%.

At the same time, Ocado — its former online partner — said the average basket fell 6% to £116, a huge drop at a time of 12.4% grocery inflation.

It is a time of huge upheaval for a sector that has been dominated by just four companies for as long as most people can remember. Aldi and Lidl stores are still springing up all over the country — not least in high-spending London — as hard pressed shoppers pivot to brands they once would not have contemplated in huge numbers.

Where will Aldi be in another 32 years time? Tough to say, but both Asda and Sainsbury will be looking hard in their rear view mirrors over the coming years as the German discounters continue their remarkable ride.


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