The UK arm of German discount retailer Aldi has forced a dramatic shake-up in the country's fiercely competitive supermarket sector, putting intense pressure on the established chains and eating away at their market share. It is now the next biggest supermarket after the traditional Big Four. Local share of the grocery market reached a new high of 8.2% in March 2020, having more than doubled since 2012. It wasn't always this way. For many years after its launch in the UK in the 1990s, Aldi failed to make a significant impact on local supermarket chains and its stripped-down store format actually put off many British shoppers used to a more luxurious store environment. The turning point came with the economic downturn of the late 2000s, as shoppers began to seek better deals than offered by the mainstream stores. A key factor was an advertising campaign which highlighted the price comparisons between third-party branded products and Aldi's own equivalents under the tagline "Like Aldi. Like Brands. Only Cheaper." Quality, though, has remained consistently high. In 2018, Aldi was named as UK Grocer of the Year for the fourth time in six years (it had previously won that award in 2009), and also regularly takes the top prize for own-label products. In 2013 it took gold in no less than 16 categories in The Grocer Own Label Awards. It has vowed to increase store numbers from around 790 outlets in 2017 to 1,000 by 2021. However, one potential weakness in the pandemic age is the lack of a home delivery service. Aldi has attempted to get around this with two new offers, currently undergoing trials in 2020: a Click & Collect offer began testing in 15 stores, while around 40 stores are experimenting with a home delivery partnership through Deliveroo. For 2019, Aldi Stores Ltd reported revenues of £12.3bn and net income of £131m. Aldi UK is a subsidiary of Aldi Sud, one of the two German companies that operate the Aldi brand globally. Former Aldi UK boss Matthew Barnes is now co-CEO of Aldi Sud. He was succeeded as UK & Ireland CEO by Giles Hurley.
Capsule checked 20th October 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 31st Mar 2020: UK supermarkets are one of the few market sectors enjoying boom trading under lockdown, although there are also significantly higher costs associated with managing staffing and the supply chain. According to latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, grocery sales during March reached their highest ever level of £10.8bn in just four weeks, with all ten chains enjoying significant year-on-year lifts in till roll ranging from 4.6% at Morrisons to 17.6% at Lidl. As that range suggests, the rate of growth has been very mixed, with discounters Lidl and Aldi enjoying by far the biggest surges. Aldi achieved a new record market share of 8.2% while Lidl was at 6.1%. Market leader Tesco, on the other hand, also enjoyed a significant uplift in till roll and remains more than 10 points ahead of closest rival Sainsbury's, but its share of the market slipped to a new multi-year low of 26.8%. The convenience store sector has also done well out of the shopping surge, with some customers choosing to avoid the longer queues found at big supermarkets. However, these smaller outlets also face a greater risk of staffing shortages if infection rates grow. The Co-op has already closed ten of its 2,500 stores and is considering closure of 60 more. Chief executive Steve Murrells told ThisIsMoney "As lockdown really takes hold, there most definitely will be areas [where we have to close stores]. This could either be due to self-isolation of colleagues, or where customers just aren't using a store. What's critical is that we get replacement labour and help to keep other stores open and keep the country going through this."
Adbrands Daily Update 8th Apr 2019: Two notable developments in the latest set of UK grocery market figures from Kantar. Aldi hit a new record in terms of its local share, reaching 8.0% for the first time. Meanwhile, Asda clawed back a narrow lead over Sainsbury for the first time since 2015. Kantar estimated 15.4% share for the Walmart-owned chain, against 15.3% for Sainsbury. Both are still awaiting a decision from competition regulators over their proposed merger that could put them neck and neck with Tesco as local leader, even after disposals of overlapping stores.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th Jan 2019: Discounters Aldi and Lidl suffered unexpected reverses in the UK over the peak Christmas shopping period. Despite a big promotional push, both stores saw their market share slip back slightly from the highs they had been enjoying for the previous few months. According to Kantar Worldpanel figures, Aldi slipped from its record high of 7.6% to 7.4% for the 12 weeks to 30th Dec, while Lidl fell back to 5.4% from its own best-ever 5.6%. Small differences to be sure, but significant nonetheless. Their loss appears to have been the the big four's gain. Tesco and Sainsbury in particular notched up their best performance since Feb 2018 with 27.8% and 16.2% respectively. In a year-on-year comparison, however, Aldi and Lidl were both higher, and Tesco and Sainsbury's lower, than in Dec 2017.
Adbrands Social Media 8th Nov 2018: "Kevin and the Wicked Parsnip". It turns out that McCann UK's Coke Truck/Italian Job spoof was actually only the appetiser for Aldi's real Christmas ad. It's a traditional fairytale epic of the battle between Good (Kevin the Carrot, natch) and Evil (Pascal the dastardly - and French! - parsnip). It's a fun romp very much in the style of previous years' campaigns, complete with trusty Jim Broadbank voiceover and mildly cheeky innuendo ("Right in the nuts!"). But we're a little disappointed to find no further spoofing. So how did Kevin rescue those cliffhanger carrots from the previous ad?
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Nov 2018: Ads Of The Week: "Kevin's Christmas Cliffhanger". In which alternative universe would you expect the Christmas ad from Aldi to trounce the offerings of every other big retailer for humour, cheeky injokes and overall appeal? Well it's the one you're living in. Kevin the Carrot returns for the third consecutive year - and how about that for brand confidence? - in the first part of McCann UK's Christmas campaign for the master retail disrupter. Previous ads got into trouble with regulators for their cheeky humour ("I think I pea-ed myself") and alcohol consumption. The latest pokes fun at Coca-Cola's long-running Christmas truck concept, before morphing into an affectionate tribute the classic British movie 'The Italian Job'. You can just picture the scene in the McCann creative department a month or two ago: "Hang on lads, I've got a great idea...".
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