While expansion for grocery stores is a tough business, expansion into entirely different countries is a whole other ballgame that many chains simply are not equipped to handle.
Germany-based supermarket chain Aldi has been pushing outside its home boundaries for decades, first planting itself in North America in the 1970s, but while they have over 2,000 stores in the U.S., Canada remains unpopulated by their discount goods.
So, is Aldi coming to Canada soon? The answer might surprise you, given the company’s steady U.S. expansion.
Is Aldi Coming To Canada?
Aldi has no plans for coming to Canada or any Canadian city. While many market experts predict the move is inevitable, the company has made no visible moves toward expanding to Canada nor released any statements concerning the prospect.
You’re probably wondering why they aren’t coming to the Great White North, whether public opinion desires Aldi in Canada or whether there is room for the market for the chain – so keep reading because I’ve got all the answers you need.
Why Isn’t Aldi Coming To Canada?
Aldi has seemingly set itself on conquering the American discount market and ignored the Canadian for a number of reasons.
At the core of Aldi’s business model are knock-down prices on everyday foods that keep people’s kitchens and pantries well-stocked.
The prices compare well in the U.S., especially versus smaller regional chains, as Aldi can stay competitive within their price ranges.
In Canada, however, budget/discount grocery shopping already corners 40 percent of the grocery market in the country.
Whereas American shoppers visit Aldi and come out impressed, if not downright shocked, at the low grocery bills, Canadians would be tougher to impress.
Another reason Aldi hasn’t come to Canada and shows no signs of doing so is geography. According to CanadianGrocer.com, there is a “lack of reasonably-priced real estate.”
Aldi takes its store placement very seriously, even laying out some of the core requirements it looks for when scouting new locations via their website.
With its dedication to keeping operational costs low (to pass the savings onto shoppers, of course), it’s tough to imagine Aldi digging deep into its coffers for a market where they’re not 100 percent sure of finding success.
Then Aldi also has the example of their major rival (at least in Europe), Lidl. Lidl actually even went so far as to set up tentative headquarters in Mississauga (outside of Toronto), hire employees, and research site possibilities.
But Lidl then scrapped plans, closed the office, and let go of everyone they hired. A few years later, Lidl instead opened its first store in the U.S. The story might serve as something of a cautionary tale for Aldi.
Do Shoppers Want Or Even Need Aldi In Canada?
The Aldi hype factory is so good that even if Canadians don’t really need Aldi stores in their already discount-focused country, they do indeed want them.
One shopper in the Aldi Aisle of Shame Facebook Community even commented that she usually visits Aldi stores in the U.S. (despite being from Canada) but couldn’t due to the coronavirus closing the borders. She visited a different country just for Aldi!
A commenter on Reddit described themselves as “Desperately waiting for it [Aldi] to come to Canada.”
This is likely where Aldi Finds comes into play. No doubt Canadians can find cheap flour, cereal, or frozen veggies, but Aldi Finds like character pet beds, inflatable outdoor seating, or exercise bikes – at crazy-low Aldi prices – would still draw shoppers.
Where Could Aldi Build Stores In Canada?
For starters, Aldi could try the bigger Canadian cities: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Combined, they have a population of 10.5 million people. Canada’s population density being what it is, Aldi would likely stick to bigger cities and urban centers, especially at first.
(For the record, Canada’s overall population density is four people per kilometer squared; the U.S. density is 36.)
Aldi is not coming to Canada in the near future, and they have shown no signs of preparing to do so.
Getting Aldi to come to an entirely different country, especially one uniquely structured like Canada, where the market is crowded with discount food retailers, will likely take a lot more analysis and planning, but take heart – it likely will happen at some point.