- Aldi announced on Tuesday that it will open approximately 150 U.S. stores and expand curbside pickup to 300 additional stores this year.
- The discount grocery chain is focusing on the Gulf Coast, where it plans to open nearly two dozen stores, along with a new regional distribution center in Alabama to support additional locations in the future. The grocer is set to debut its first store in Louisiana — its 38th state — later this month.
- The announcement builds on the discount grocery chain's progress toward becoming the third-largest grocery retailer by store count in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
After opening 70 stores in 2020 and 100 locations last year, Aldi is accelerating its store opening schedule nearly two years into a pandemic that's been highly disruptive for expansion plans across the industry.
As part of its 2022 plans, the company will make its debut in Louisiana on Feb. 10 with the opening of a store in Lafayette. After welcoming that store, Aldi plans to open two more Gulf Coast stores in March, followed by 20 more stores in the region throughout the rest of the year.
The 564,000-square-foot regional distribution center in Loxley, Alabama, which was announced last year and is expected to open later this year, will eventually support up to 100 new stores across Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, per the announcement. As the chain deepens its roots in the region, it's hiring approximately 300 store associates and 200 warehouse workers.
Aldi's aggressive store opening campaign kicked into gear in 2017, when it announced it would spend $5.3 billion to open hundreds of new stores and remodel others. The company said this week it's on track to become the third-largest U.S. grocer by store count by the end of this year.
Over the past decade, Aldi, which opened its first U.S. store in 1976, has opened more than 1,000 stores.
Aldi is also expanding curbside pickup, with plans to extend the service from 1,200 stores to 1,500 by the end of this year, as pickup continues to dominate fulfillment methods for online grocery orders in the U.S.
Aldi offers delivery via Instacart from 95% of its more than 2,000 stores. In late 2020, the grocer linked up with Instacart to roll out SNAP online purchasing, giving customers who participate in the nutrition benefits program expanded access to online groceries.
Aldi was among grocers that nabbed top spots on Dunnhumby's newly released Retailer Preference Index, ranking No. 6 behind Amazon and its Fresh banner, H-E-B, Market Basket and Wegmans. Aldi claimed the No. 1 spot on Dunhumby's price quartile and No. 3 on the speed of shopping quartile.
Last summer, market research firm Ipsos included Aldi as one of the best grocery brands for fulfilling online pickup orders.
Competitor Lidl, which arrived in the U.S. in 2017, hit the 100-store mark in May 2020 and announced plans last year to open 50 stores in the eastern United States before the year's end. Discount competitor Grocery Outlet is also growing rapidly, with more than 400 stores, while Save A Lot is remodeling stores and selling off locations as it transitions to a wholesale model.