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Supermarket chain investing $1.6 billion in store remodels


Discount grocer Aldi is not about to let any new competitors — home-grown or fellow German imports — get the best of it.

The retailer has announced an aggressive $1.6 billion investment in its stores, with plans to remodel and expand more than 1,300 of its locations by 2020. The announcement comes as competition heats up in the value grocery segment, which is bracing itself for the entry of Germany’s Lidl. At the same, Whole Foods Market continues to expand its new, less pricey format, 365 by Whole Foods.

The remodeling program is in addition to Aldi’s accelerated growth plan, which calls for 650 new stores. By the end of 2018, Aldi, which currently operates some 1,600 U.S. stores, expects to operate nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. (As previously announced, the chain will invest more than $3 billion to pay for land, facilities and equipment to open these new stores.)

Aldi’s remodeled stores will have a slightly more upscale and inviting look. The modern design will feature open ceilings, and natural lighting, and such environmentally friendly features as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.

The stores are intended to deliver on customers’ desire for a modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items. They will boost expanded produce (including organics), dairy and bakery sections.

“With this significant investment in our stores, what we’re really doing is continuing to invest in Aldi customers,” said Jason Hart, CEO, Aldi. “We’re continuing to expand our fresh offerings, which means we need to provide more space for produce, meat, and bakery items. We’ve also made a number of improvements to our products — such as removing added MSG, certified synthetic colors and partially hydrogenated oils from all of our Aldi exclusive brand foods.”
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