Alarm mood at Aldi

By René Garzke

Misery at the supermarket giant Aldi Nord? The group (2,200 branches in Germany, 5,300 in Europe) was reportedly in the red recently, probably making heavy losses.

That this becomes public at all – a rarity! Because: Aldi kept its results a secret for decades. But the “Handelsblatt” now wants to have revealed that the billion-dollar chain is said to have economic problems.

Accordingly, the operating margin is minus 1.4 percent. Means: Aldi would make a loss with its business. According to the “Handelsblatt”, the top management announced this to 150 executives at a conference last November.

It broke a taboo: the company had never dealt with the numbers so openly. Before that, only the smallest possible group was initiated. On “Handelsblatt”-Aldi Nord did not want to comment on the operating margin.

Aldi internally there is an alarm mood, reported the “Handelsblatt”. Profits in the German market have “shrunk significantly”. And: In France and Denmark (minus 46 million euros), the discounter was in the red last year. As a result, Aldi sold the Denmark business to the competition.

Curious: Aldi’s total sales in Europe are actually increasing. But apparently the costs have risen so massively in the meantime that the result has plummeted.

A group spokesman told the “Handelsblatt”: “In France and Denmark we made losses last year, all other national companies were profitable.”

According to the report, there is another far-reaching decision by the Aldi Nord leadership. Originally, the IT system for purchasing was to be aligned with that of Aldi Süd. But that was then stopped.

Means: A further rapprochement of the two groups is slowed down for the time being. A possible merger – probably completely off the table for now.

In 1961, the Albrecht brothers divided Germany among themselves. The so-called Aldi equator still exists today

Aldi Nord is now facing the largest corporate restructuring in history. In the center: Group boss Torsten Hufnagel. According to the report, he should design a new structure that should bring more efficiency and thus profit again.

That is possible after Aldi Nord’s heirs reached an agreement earlier this year. This ended a more than ten-year dispute over money, power and influence.