AS Aldi’s WA invasion gathers steam, local retailers say they welcome the competition from the German discount juggernaut.
Already entrenched as Australia's third-largest grocery retailer, Aldi will open its first Perth store in Bemlont tomorrow and has planned to have 20 open by year’s end.
Aldi’s business model involves smaller stores stocking a smaller range of products (around 900), thereby saving on rent and passing these cost cuts on to consumers. Since it opened its first Australian store in January 2001, Aldi has taken the east coast by storm and now occupies 12.1 per cent of Australia's supermarket space – developing a cultlike following among its devotees.
Woolworths is still the market leader, with 37.3 per cent, while Coles has 32.5 per cent. IGA holds on to 9.7 per cent market share.
In the past three years, Aldi has taken its annual sales past $8 billion, and the push into WA is part of the retailer’s plan to boost store numbers from 373 to 628 by 2020.
With new Aldi stores set to open in Mirrabooka, Kwinana, Belmont and Joondalup, the WA grocery sector is set for its biggest shake-up in years.
But Grant Ramage, WA General Manager of Metcash Food and Grocery Supermarkets, owner of the IGA brand, said his organisation welcomed the arrival.
“We think competition is good for shoppers in WA,” Mr Ramage said.
Woolworths, too, is unfazed by Aldi’s imminent arrival.
Coles said it would not comment on competitors.