Aldi Plans to Expand U.S. Store Count by 50%

Aldi Einkauf GmbH, the German-based discount grocer, will open 650 new U.S. locations by 2018, increasing its store count by 50 percent as it expands across the nation.

Closely held Aldi plans to invest about $3 billion to open 130 stores a year, to reach 1,950 by 2018, and build a regional headquarters and distribution center in Moreno Valley, California, the company said today in a statement. The expansion will create about 10,000 jobs, it said.

The U.S. grocery business is getting more competitive as Americans shop for less-expensive foods at supercenters, as well as look for more natural and organic options. Big-box retail chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. (TGT) have also taken share from traditional supermarkets.

Aldi currently has about 1,300 stores in 32 U.S. states and has recently opened in Houston and expanded in southern Florida and New York City. Kroger Co. (KR) is the largest U.S. grocery-store chain with more than 2,400 supermarkets and multidepartment stores.

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