Aldi Local has been unveiled. The new format from the discounter is designed to suit smaller high street locations around London to “help shoppers distinguish between smaller city stores in London and the conventional-sized Aldis”.
Here’s what we found when we visted the first Aldi Local in Balham.
At 6,000 sq ft, this Aldi Local store is around half the size of a standard Aldi and carries a slimmed-down product range (1,500 SKUs), tailored to customers shopping without a car. To maximise the space, there is no Specialbuys aisle, limited general merchandise lines and no bulky items.
Other key features include:
- The glass-fronted store has a refreshed fascia combining grey and bright blue – a departure from the discounter’s original orange and navy scheme.
- Original Aldi logos are still included in the fascia and throughout the store. Once inside, there is no reference to Aldi Local in any of the messaging.
- The store has eight tills. Each has a divider to allow two customers to pack at the same time, and carries a range of healthy snacking lines.
- Chilled food to go and food for tonight bays are located at the front of the store
- Fresh produce is still the first aisle, with a full-size range including the Super Six offer and some wonky veg lines.
- There is also a fresh bakery section, with a selection of breads and primarily sweet on-the-go lines including croissants, muffins and doughnuts.
- Frozen products are on the back wall of the store in upright, door display units, giving plenty of space to ice cream, desserts and meal for tonight lines.
- The personal care section includes a selection of branded and own-label lines and is flagged using imagery.
- BWS is also well represented with a wide range of speciality spirits and case-displays for wines, the same as standard Aldi stores.
This may be a compact store but once inside, it doesn’t feel small at all. Aisles are wide enough for the mass of footfall this store is positioned to get during the evening and weekend rushes and Aldi has employed lots of clever positioning (like adding a corner flower section) to maximise the space for customers without adding obstructions like dump bins.
Unlike Lidl, Aldi has chosen to drop the middle aisle of general merchandise in this small format.
This has brought back valuable space for a far bigger fresh meat, fish and poultry section than its competitors with similarly sized stores. Delivering this full range of fresh produce and chilled meat and fish is clever when you consider the number of young people house-sharing in this area of South London – many of them will be able to do their entire weekly shop at this store with ease.
These GM sections are also hard to keep tidy in such high-footfall areas and can make the store look messy.
Overall, this is a well-executed store with all the key elements you would expect from a standard Aldi, but streamlined for the high street.
With these smaller city stores, Aldi presents a credible threat to multiple convenience operators and independents that are not only unable to compete on price, but now on range too.
Ellis joined The Grocer and moved south in 2015 after working as a local news reporter in her home town of Glasgow. Ellis doesn't work on a particular patch, and you'll find her writing about a vast range of topics across the universe of food and drink, but she specialises in own-label, culinary trends and internet food culture.
Follow Ellis on Twitter: @ellishawthorne