Discount store Aldi plans to bring convenient grocery shopping to even more of its customers in 2021, according to a recent company press release. The chain said it will expand its curbside pickup service to 500 additional stores by the end of the year, bringing the total number of Aldi stores offering the e-commerce service to 1,200.
Aldi’s curbside expansion plan follows the company’s 600-store rollout of the service last year. While Aldi initially lagged behind competitors in the e-commerce space, it’s picking up pace with curbside pickup to strengthen its position against rivals like Walmart.
Curbside pickup services have spiked in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic as customers look to avoid close contact with other shoppers. In fact, now that customers have discovered how convenient curbside pickup is, retailers expect it to only grow in popularity even after the pandemic ends.
Aldi is also growing in other ways to keep up with competitors and reach its goal of becoming the third-largest grocer in the country by 2022, behind Kroger and Albertsons. The German supermarket plans to open 100 new stores in the U.S. this year focusing on Arizona, California, Florida, and the Northeast. It also hopes to open 35 new Gulf-area stores by the end of 2022, two of which are slated to open in Florida later this year.
To support its expansion efforts in the South and Gulf Coast, Aldi broke ground last week on a new, 564,000 square-foot regional headquarters and distribution center in Loxley, Alabama. The center will serve about 100 stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Florida Panhandle.
Aldi’s e-commerce and store footprint expansions are a part of the five-year, $5 billion growth plan the company put in place in 2017. Since then, Aldi has joined Instacart, launched same-day delivery, and was one of the first grocers to let customers pay with SNAP for delivery orders on Instacart.