Aldi's Australian campaign appeared to be running behind schedule as it emerged competitors are preparing for a February 2001 launch instead of a Christmas start for the German hard discounter. Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket chain, has announced a programme of new store openings to tackle the German threat by building economies of scale. Chief executive Roger Corbett said the company would open 20-30 Woolworths stores and four to six Big W stores a year for the next two to three years. "We're evaluating opportunities to acquire a business that has the characteristics of critical mass, low margins and high volume that can be put together with Woolworths,." he said. {{NEWS }}