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Business Insider reports that Aldi is moving to offer grocery delivery out of all its US stores, and also will test curbside pickup.

The story says that “Aldi is slowly ramping up its investment in grocery delivery and pickup amid fierce competition from Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon for consumers' online grocery purchases.”

Walmart, for example, “plans to offer grocery delivery from more than 800 stores by the end of the year, and it offers curbside pickup at more than 1,500 locations” … Kroger is “now delivering groceries from nearly 900 stores and plans to grow its curbside pickup locations by nearly 500 stores this year, from nearly 1,100 locations now” … and Amazon “is in the process off rolling out grocery delivery from Whole Foods stores across the US,” and also has begun testing curb side pickup from Whole Foods stores.

At the same time, the Star Tribune reports, Aldi also “will start offering featured items that seem more at home at sister store Trader Joe’s or Amazon’s Whole Foods than a discount chain.”

Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi US, is quoted as saying, “The continued success of our store expansion and remodel initiatives have given us the opportunity to carefully select and introduce new products that satisfy our customers’ increasing preferences for fresh items, including organic meats, salad bowls, sliced fruits and gourmet cheeses.”

The Chicago Sun Times writes that Aldo also “will increase its product offering by 20 percent, expand its stores by 40 percent and remodel its existing stores.”

Not everything is changing, though: “Shopping carts still require a returnable quarter deposit and grocery bags still cost extra,” the Star Tribune notes.
KC's View:
In a lot of ways it makes sense for Aldi to improve some of its offerings, especially with a stronger fresh foods program. But I guess I have to wonder if better fresh foods - in addition to providing delivery and pickup - will somehow undermine Aldi’s low price image.

At a time when Aldi is expanding, and hoping that it can undercut the appeal of other price-driven retailers, I have to wonder if this is an approach that might turn out differently than the company hopes.