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New Grocer Announces Expansion in Houston

Houston, grocery, expansion

The Houston area’s already competitive grocery market is getting even more so.  Discount grocer Aldi plans to open 30 stores in the next three years, the company said last week.

At least 10 are set to open in spring next year.  No-frills Aldi stores carry produce, meats and other items at low prices.

“Aldi is probably the lowest-priced grocer in the country,” said David Livingston, a grocery analyst at Waukesha, Wis.-based DJL Research.

The chain, with its U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill., has an unusual business model. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags or buy them at checkout, and all customers do their own bagging. They pay a 25-cent deposit for a grocery cart and get the quarter back when they return it.

Each week Aldi features 20 to 30 “Special Buys” on items ranging from seasonal foods to cookware.

Aldi often sets up shop close to Walmarts, because the discount giant draws a lot of traffic, and “Aldi doesn’t have to worry about Walmart beating them on price,” Livingston said.

Livingston speculated that Houston shoppers may be somewhat less surprised by Aldi’s low prices compared with consumers in other cities because the market here is already exceptionally price competitive.

Huska disagreed, saying he spent a fair amount of time studying the Houston market, and when people walk into Aldi stores and see the prices and the quality, “I think they will be very excited."

Source:  Houston Chronicle - David Kaplan