Sunday, December 10, 2017
Business

Grocery wars escalate: Discount Aldi unveils expansion plan to reach 2,500 U.S. stores by 2022

It already has 1,600 grocery stores in 35 states. On Monday, Germany-based Aldi announced it plans to add 900 more across the United States to bring the low-cost supermarket chain to 2,500 by 2022. Along the way, it will add 25,000 U.S. jobs, the company says.

Aldi, whose U.S. headquarters are in Batavia, Ill., is upping the stakes in the ongoing grocery wars in this country, committing a new round of $5 billion in investment to expand over the next five years. Aldi entered the Tampa Bay market in 2008 and now operates 17 stores here, and a total of 107 so far in central and southern Florida. Aldi says many of existing stores will be remodeled and expanded.

Aldi's press release captures the company's mission. "Aldi continues to disrupt the U.S. grocery industry by providing customers with a smarter way to shop."

Such an aggressive growth strategy means Aldi will be on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the country by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Kroger Co. and a growing threat to traditional food retailers. Publix, the highly successful No. 1 grocery by market share in Florida, operates just under 1,200 stores across the southeastern United States.

Aldi hopes to do here what it has done so far in Europe — watch its market share steadily grow while traditional supermarkets see theirs shrink.

The key? Cheaper pricing. When it first entered the Tampa Bay market nine years ago, Aldi claimed prices of about 15 percent below Wal-Mart or Target Supercenters offered in smaller-sized stores — typically 16,000 square feet and six aisles — with limited assortments.

A recent report from consulting firm Bain & Co. forecasts deep discount chains will grow in this country by up to 10 percent a year through 2020,. That's five times the rate of traditional grocers.

Aldi, brandishing the slogan "Simply Smart Shopping," relies heavily on its store brand goods to offer lower-priced fare. Traditional grocery chains argue comparisons with discounters on price are difficult because they stock name-brand goods that Aldi does not carry.

"We're growing at a time when other retailers are struggling," Aldi CEO Jason Hart stated. "We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and fresh, healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores."

Experts point out it's no coincidence Aldi unveiled its expansion plan days before another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first ten U.S. stores on the East Coast as part of a multiyear expansion. Lidl, whose stores are similar to Aldi's, anticipates 100 U.S. stores by mid 2018 and a rumored 600 more down the road.

Comments
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17
Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.But there’s a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won’t be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six mil...
Published: 12/08/17
St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

Times Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — What started more than five years ago as an exploratory conversation among a handful of business leaders blossomed Friday into a full-blown community discussion of how to nurture business while working to make sure ...
Published: 12/08/17
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

In a decision driven by some major data crunching, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater next year will focus its tourism advertising on three target markets: Orlando, New York City and its Tampa Bay home."Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction...
Published: 12/08/17
Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

TAMPA — JW Marriott, a luxury hotel brand new to Tampa, will run the new 519-room hotel that the Water Street Tampa project is building next to the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, developers announced Friday.Construction on the 26-story hotel is ...
Published: 12/08/17

Gravel spill shuts down parts of northbound Howard Frankland Bridge

TAMPA — Authorities are cleaning up a load of gravel spilled onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge on Friday afternoon, shutting down at least two lanes of traffic.The incident was reported at 2 p.m. on the stretch of the bridge drivers approac...
Published: 12/08/17
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 ...
Published: 12/08/17
Why has bitcoin’s price shot up so fast?

Why has bitcoin’s price shot up so fast?

SAN FRANCISCO — Bitcoin has been in a bull market like few the world has ever seen.At the beginning of the year, the price of a bitcoin was below $1,000. It hit $5,000 in October, then doubled by late November. And on Thursday, less than two weeks la...
Published: 12/08/17
U.S. employers added 228,000 jobs in November, unemployment rate stays at 4.1 percent

U.S. employers added 228,000 jobs in November, unemployment rate stays at 4.1 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in its ninth year of economic recovery. The unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported F...
Published: 12/08/17