Aldi's new convenience store: our first impressions

Date : 15 April 2013

Following the opening of Aldi's new small format store in Kilburn, North West London, we take a look at Aldi's first foray into convenience retailing.

'Lunch for Less'

A well constructed food-to-go section greets customers as they enter the store with the 'Lunch for less' theme, a clear example of how Aldi is making this store relevant to convenience shopper missions. Marketing highlights "Aldi simplicity: no gimmicks, no deals, just a lunch at a great price". The section offers low price own brand sandwiches, branded impulse drinks and crisps from PepsiCo brands such as Walkers and Tropicana. On the other side of the aisle loose fruit is merchandised in wicker baskets next to an enticing offer of in-store bakery products. The fresh bakery aroma adds to the in-store environment, enabling Aldi to be a highly credible player in the competitive lunch market.

Focus on fresh and value

Adjacent to the food-to-go aisle is a neatly presented fresh produce offer that supports a fuller weekly shop. Aldi's famous Super Six offer is well communicated with clear appeal to the value seeking shopper, while fuller family shops are also catered for through the inclusion of bulk packs. Messaging across the section communicates that products are delivered fresh each day, helping Aldi to gain traction with quality seeking shoppers. Fresh meat is also an area of authority with credibility in this category essential to facilitating a fuller weekly shop. Separate placards for beef, pork, lamb and poultry communicate authority, supported by 100% 'British farmed fresh meat" signage make fresh meat one of the standout features of the store.

Special Buys stay

Despite the small footprint, Aldi has retained a "Special Buys" aisle in the centre of the store providing a clear point of difference from other convenience stores. The "hurry when it's gone, it's gone" message helps drive footfall with an eclectic range of low priced products from pillows to fruit pie fillings, helping to generate excitement for regular customers.

Managing congestion could be a challenge

At the time of visiting (4pm on a Friday) the store was extremely busy with the sheer volume of customers making it hard for store staff to restock shelves, and with just eight checkouts, queues could build up quickly. While active queue management by staff helped minimise delays, Aldi will no doubt be keen to take steps to ensure congestion does not mar the customer experience.

Potential for wider rollout

The high levels of trade suggest that the format is effectively meeting local needs in this mixed affluence inner London district that is not well served by larger format stores. A well judged range enables the store to cater both for shoppers buying for a single meal and for family shoppers undertaking a broader shop. The focus on fresh and inclusion of premium products should give the store appeal to more affluent as well as value seeking shoppers. While basket size will be limited by the lack of car parking, this appears to be compensated for by high levels of volume this store format can attract. As Aldi looks to build its presence in London, the new format will allow it to  build penetration where a lack of sites has previously prevented it from opening  standard format stores.

Want to know more?

Take a look at our regularly updated snapshot for an essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Aldi

Retail Analysis news is now mobile friendly - learn more >>