Aldi effect: how a discount supermarket transformed way Britain shops (UK community)


EXCERPT: . . . But most people were confident they would fail in Britain, where there was a discernible snobbery about discount stores. When a reporter from the Times visited an Aldi store in Birmingham the following year, he thought it represented the “anonymous, slightly alarming face of 1990s grocery shopping”, without any pretence of sophistication. “One looks in vain for avocados or kiwi fruit.”

The British supermarket giants, whose 7% profit margins were the world’s highest, were even more dismissive. Sainsbury’s remarked on the absence of service, which was important to British customers. “We welcome the advent of Aldi and others to come,” said Tesco managing director David Malpas. “We can live quite happily in our part of the market and they can live in theirs.”

For a long time it looked like he was correct. In 1999, when Walmart bought Asda, the UK’s third biggest grocery chain, the Financial Times noted that Aldi had made “little impact in Britain” because customers were not as price-sensitive as Americans or continental Europeans. German shoppers, notoriously, took this to extremes: one of the country’s biggest electronics retailers, Saturn, even adopted “Thriftiness is sexy” as a marketing slogan. By 2009 – after nearly two decades – Aldi’s market share was just 2%, similar to that of Lidl, its German rival and imitator, which had launched in Britain soon after Aldi.

But today, the boasts of Tesco and Sainsbury’s read like a classic example of business hubris. While the major supermarkets dozed, convinced that many people would not be seen dead in a discount store, the German chains quietly turned the sector on its head. Nearly two-thirds of households now visit an Aldi or Lidl branch at least once every 12 weeks, according to the research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

In 2017, Aldi overtook the Co-op to become the UK’s fifth largest retailer; today it has a 7.5% market share, closing in on fourth-place Morrisons, with 10.6%. Lidl has 5.3%, more than Waitrose. What’s more, the two discounters are still growing quickly – opening an average of one new store every week, often in more affluent towns.

By sucking in shoppers and, as former Aldi UK CEO Paul Foley puts it, “sucking the profitability out of the industry” – profit margins of 2-3% are now the norm – the two German-owned companies have forced the “big four” supermarkets to take drastic measures. Morrisons has closed stores and laid off workers, while Sainsbury’s and Asda, desperate to cut costs and stop losing market share, announced a proposed £13bn merger in May, which the UK competition watchdog now appears likely to block. Tesco, meanwhile, has slashed its product range and bought the discount wholesaler Booker. In September, in a belated acknowledgement that the major threat to its business comes from Aldi and Lidl, Tesco launched its own discount chain, called Jack’s.

These industry shifts often lead the news, because supermarkets are so important to the economy: with more than 300,000 staff, Tesco is the UK’s biggest private-sector employer and the biggest retailer of any sort. But we also follow these stories closely for a more sentimental reason: grocery shopping is an intimate part of our lives. We don’t need to buy books or fancy trainers, but we do need to eat.

Most of us shop weekly, at the same store each time. Traditionally, we chose a shop for convenience – because a particular store was close by and because we knew along which aisles to find a large choice of our favourite products and brands – and loyalty. Research shows that many of us also chose a grocer because of how we perceived ourselves in terms of class and status. In the early 2000s, before Aldi’s rise, Peter Jackson, professor of human geography at the University of Sheffield, noted that British shoppers appeared to want an “environment where they will be surrounded by people like themselves” with whom they feel comfortable.

But the success of Aldi and, to a lesser extent, Lidl, shows that these old conventions no longer hold so true. Aldi, which is still family owned and unburdened by the short-term pressures for profits faced by its stock-market listed rivals, has changed the way we shop....

(Mar 16, 2019 05:59 AM)C C Wrote: ... Aldi had made “little impact in Britain” because customers were not as price-sensitive as Americans or continental Europeans.

Odd that the US is seen as the height of wasteful consumerism but actually more thrifty than Brits.
Quote:We do things differently, but for a very good reason: our commitment to bringing you the lowest prices on a wide range of high quality products

lowest prices on food quality
highest prices on health care
longest worst quality of life at the cheapest price as long as the tax payer is paying for all the fat person problems.

tax on drugs
tax on gambling
no tax on sugar ?
no tax on trans fats ?

how many taxes do you pay for one single medical service which goes through an insurance company ?
4 different company's all charging profit all charging you tax 4 times for the same service
as you pay 4 times the profit for 1 service while the fanatics claim thats how you cut costs & that universal health care & government owned company's cant provide a cheaper service ?

parents that feed their children endless amounts of sugar & trans fats and over eating of massive amounts of carbohydrates for a lazy child life style and cause the child to become diabetic...

its always best to have the cheapest quality food...

whats this game called ?

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