Grocery

Aldi is now the third-largest grocer in the US, based on store count

The German supermarket chain opened 88 new locations last year.
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Walmart still holds the throne as the nation’s leading grocer, but competitors are storming the kingdom’s aisles. After Kroger, Aldi was recently crowned the nation’s third-largest grocer by store count, according to data from the commercial real estate firm JLL.

The German company was the fastest-growing grocery chain in the US last year, based on both the number of new stores opened and the square footage of those 88 locations. The stores take up over 2.2 million square feet of space. Meanwhile, new Publix locations in 2021 accounted for a mere 1.3 million square feet.

  • Lidl, another German grocer, has been leaning into its own US expansion.

Sizing up: Aldi stepped up its US expansion plans back in 2017, and the grocery chain is seeing the fruits of its labor. That year, Aldi announced a $5 billion, five-year strategy in which it would invest $3.4 billion to grow from 1,700 to 2,500 stores across the nation by the end of 2022. It’s well on its way to achieving that goal: As of late March, Aldi counts 2,160 US locations.

  • In February, Aldi announced plans to open about 150 stores in the US this year.

Opportunity on aisle one: Following the pandemic-era grocery boom, grocery stores saw a 200% surge in new leases in 2021 compared to 2019, per Datex and JLL. Grocers are also investing in store renovations, in addition to new spaces. Seems as though Aldi was ahead of the curve with its $1.6 billion store-refresh project circa 2017.—JG

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