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Aldi eyes online expansion as shopping habits shift

Aldi shopper in mask

Aldi is expanding its portfolio (pic: Terry Murden)

Aldi is following rival supermarket chains by building its online ordering offer in response to changes forced on shoppers by the pandemic.

The chain is trialling a number of new concepts, including a Deliveroo rapid delivery service and a click and collect service, already operated by rivals such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley acknowledges that the pandemic has impacted on consumer trends.

“The business performance has been very, very solid… but we also recognise customer habits are changing and that we need to evolve our business to meet the new demands and we’re actively doing that,” he said.

He now wants to “redefine discount retailing” and click and collect will be part of that, with a trial being operated by 15 stores.

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Despite the company’s rapid growth which saw a 49% rise in pre-tax profits last year, its smaller store format has seen it miss out on some the extra spending during the pandemic, says Fraser McKevitt, Head of Retail and Consumer Insight at consumer analysts Kantar.

“Aldi has still seen strong growth, they’re still selling 10% more than they did last year, but for the first time they’ve grown behind the market,” he says.

Aldi’s Giles Hurley says most (85%) of shoppers still shop in-store and alongside the online offer Aldi remains committed to a £1.3 billion expansion.

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