Aldi chooses Greenwich for till-free store trial, as physical retail remains key for grocer

·2-min read
Aldi saw sales increase during the pandemic  (aldi uk)
Aldi saw sales increase during the pandemic (aldi uk)

Bricks and mortar stores remain at the heart of growth plans for Aldi, which has picked a site in Greenwich where it will trial a checkout-free concept shop.

Alongside publishing results yesterday, and UK boss Giles Hurley cheering online growth, the discount supermarket chain showed having more physical stores are a big part of its expansion plans.

It wants to open 100 new stores across the UK over the next two years, as well as expand its warehousing space. Investments will also be made in its click and collect service.

In addition Aldi gave more details on plans for checkout-free technology after earlier this month revealing it was testing the concept in London.

Aldi has now said a trial in Greenwich “will use a system of cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to identify the items customers take from shelves, alleviating the need to go through a checkout”.

The firm joins other retailers looking at offering customers different ways to shop.

In the summer it emerged that Tesco had created what is set to be its first public-facing store using cashierless technology, while Amazon has this year opened six Amazon Fresh convenience stores in London that offer ‘just walk out shopping’.

Aldi’s latest commitment to invest in the bricks and mortar estate comes despite scores of people embracing digital shopping, and being impressed by it, during the pandemic.

Kunaal Shah, retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “Aldi has always operated under a store-first policy and its investment plan over the next two years shows this is not changing.”

Shah added: “Despite consumers becoming more comfortable shopping for groceries online due to the pandemic, Aldi is going to stick to the strategy which has worked so well and continue with rapid store expansion around the UK. By extending its click and collect offering, and opening a check-out free store, Aldi is ensuring its strategy remains modern and relevant.”

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