Aldi will have doubled its number of stores on Long Island over a four-year span by the end of 2023 as consumers in search of bargains help fuel the discount grocer’s growth.
The grocer plans to open four more Long Island stores — locations in Carle Place, Central Islip, Hempstead and Rocky Point — by the end of 2023, said Chris Daniels, vice president for Aldi’s South Windsor Division. The additions will bring Aldi's Long Island total to 14.
Aldi entered the Island market in 2011 with a store in Bay Shore. Its 10 existing Long Island stores include two — in Valley Stream and North Babylon — that opened in 2020, one that opened in Shirley in 2021 and one that opened in Bohemia last month.
“We’re really happy with the sales and reception on Long Island. That’s why we continue to expand,” Daniels said at a media tour of a Brooklyn store last week.
Aldi, a German company with its American headquarters in Batavia, Illinois, has 2,200 stores in 38 U.S. states, including about 100 stores it opened last year. It is now the fourth-largest U.S. grocery chain, based on store count, but it says it is on track to rank third by the end of this year with an “aggressive nationwide growth” plan that includes 150 new supermarkets in 2022 and another 150 in 2023.
Currently, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Companies Inc. is the third-largest grocery company, owning 2,273 retail food stores and drugstores, including 387 Albertsons supermarkets.
Here is a rundown of Aldi's Long Island plan:
Carle Place: Aldi will open a store in December in Parkway Plaza, in the 200 block of Glen Cove Road. The 21,093-square-foot space was formerly occupied by Minado Japanese Seafood Buffet and Stew Leonard’s Wines.
Central Islip: Manhasset-based PX4 Development has applied to the Town of Islip for a zoning change to redevelop the former Central Islip Psychiatric Center property for retail businesses and housing for seniors, disabled veterans and autistic people that would total 150,000 square feet, including a 20,259-square-foot Aldi. The site, which previously housed a New York Institute of Technology campus, is at the southwest corner of Carleton Avenue and South Research Place.
Hempstead: An Aldi will open at 280 Peninsula Blvd. in Hempstead Village Commons early next summer, Daniels said. The grocery store will take an approximately 24,000-square-foot space that a Staples will vacate Nov. 11, said Marc Kemp, a principal at Woodmere-based real estate developer Basser-Kaufman, which owns the shopping center.
Rocky Point: A new Aldi is planned for a former Mattress Firm space at 85 North Country Rd. (Route 25A) in Crossroads Plaza, Brookhaven Town spokesman Jack Krieger said. The applicant, Miller Family Limited Partnership IV, submitted a site plan to the Town of Brookhaven’s planning department in April 2021 for a new 21,543-square-foot grocery store, he said.
Final planning approval and a building permit are still needed, Krieger said.
Aldi is in the limited-assortment grocery category, which includes Lidl and Trader Joe’s. Limited-assortment stores are significantly smaller than traditional supermarkets and lack full-service meat, deli and bakery departments. Also, they carry a high percentage of their own private-label brands. At Aldi, 90% of the products are private-label brands.
The retailer also cuts costs by having fewer employees. One labor-saving method is to put open cartons of products on shelves instead of having employees transfer them from cartons to shelves.
With inflation near a 40-year high, Aldi and other discounters are benefiting from a growing number of cost-conscious customers, retail experts said.
Aldi's sales at stores open at least 12 months are up by double digits on Long Island and chainwide, and the grocer has added 1 million new customers at those locations over the last year, the retailer said.
"The continued support from Long Island is driving our expansion and the main reason our sales are up is our record customer count growth in Long Island. While there are rising food costs across the country, we believe New Yorkers know Aldi will not get beat on price," Daniels said.
For customers, there are some trade-offs to shopping at limited-assortment grocers.
“What you give up in an Aldi is the same kind of breadth in the fresh department [that full-service grocery stores have]. You just don’t have the level of variety there," said Jim Hertel, senior vice president of client development at Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "For some consumers, meat and produce … are the true destination categories that are going to determine where they shop.”
Aldi has become more competitive over the years by adding more fresh meat and produce, the latter of which is the top-selling section in its stores, Scott Patton, an Aldi vice president of national buying, said at the Brooklyn store last week.
“Twenty years ago, you would have seen more packaged goods,” he said.
Aldi also is rolling out self-checkout aisles, starting with 300 stores this year, he said.