Aldi Spending $1.6B To Upgrade Stores To Be More Whole Foods-Esque

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

Millennials are already apparently flocking to Aldi over Whole Foods’ new, hipper version of its typical stores in favor of lower price points, but now these customers won’t have to forego the more expensive chain’s aesthetic: Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion to revamp the layout of its stores in order to compete with chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts. 

Aldi on Wednesday announced [PDF] the upgrade plan for its 1,300 stores over the next three years.

So far, about 300 locations have already been revamped with sleeker refrigerators doors and windows that bring in more natural light. Other improvements include widening the first aisle, expanding the front of the store, and raising ceilings.

With the upgrades, the chain says it will be able to add more products to its lineup, including expanding its organic produce section, fresh meat offerings, and alcohol departments.

“The new ALDI store look delivers on its customers’ desire for a modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items, including more robust produce, dairy and bakery sections,” the company said.

Business Insider reports that the new stores shares several similar features with Whole Foods’ new 365 stores, with their softer, natural light, and wider aisles.

For example, both stores feature refrigerator-lined perimeters and minimal signage. Additionally, the middle of the stores house the store’s produce, and neither chain offers a deli, but instead prepackaged cheeses and meats.

The remodel places Aldi in a position to potentially whisk away customers from Whole Foods and corporate cousin Trader Joe’s.

In fact, by the time the remodels are complete in 2020, Aldi tells Bloomberg that it expects to increase the number of shoppers from 40 million to 60 million each month.

It won’t just be the company’s stores that are getting a facelift. Aldi notes in a statement that it will also improve products, removing added MSG, certified synthetic colors and partially hydrogenated oils from all Aldi exclusive brand foods.

In addition to revamping its current stores, Aldi said on Wednesday that it plans to continue moving forward with an accelerated growth plan of opening 650 new stores. By the end of 2018, the company expects to operate 2,000 stores in the U.S.

As part of these plans, the company has opened dozens of stores in California, pitting it directly against competitor Whole Foods, Bloomberg notes.