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Friday, November 7, 2008

In Tough Times, Aldi Promises Cheap Thrills

It may not stock Coke or tempt shoppers with fancy end-aisle displays, but bare-bones grocery chain Aldi fits these tough economics, reports Time. With Americans downgrading to cheaper stores, Aldi's generic, spartan approach is attracting customers eager to save a buck, or more, on a gallon of milk. The chain cuts costs by offering staples—ketchup, cereal, olive oil—in one brand in one size.

Aldi's well-tested European business model undercuts its competitors by up to 90%, eliminating frills like free plastic bags and payment by credit card while keeping in-store staff to a five-employee maximum. Targeting urban neighborhoods where real-estate costs favor Aldi's minimal spatial needs—no butcher here—the chain plans to expand by 100 stores over the next two years.

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