Aldi is talking now.
In July, I wrote about the German discount grocer’s plans to open two Long Island stores this year — in North Babylon and its first in Nassau County, in Valley Stream. Aldi declined to comment at the time, but representatives from a real estate firm and development company confirmed the stores were on their way.
Now Aldi is, too.
The Valley Stream store will open Feb. 27 at 750 Sunrise Hwy., at Green Acres Mall, Aldi said in a statement.
The grocer also confirmed that a North Babylon store is coming this summer but declined to provide a more specific date or an address.
But I’ve already written that the store, as well as a new Planet Fitness and self-storage facility, will be built on a site that used to hold a Pathmark grocery store and other smaller retailers at 1251 Deer Park Ave.
In 2011, Aldi entered the Long Island market, where it currently has six stores — all in Suffolk County.
But the grocer is making more of a play for Long Island as large, international chains are gobbling up more market share from locally based retailers. Those purchases are providing or expanding retail footprints in Nassau County, while Aldi is just now arriving.
“When it comes to choosing store locations, we look at many factors. We want the best sites that are closest to our shoppers and can support a high daily traffic volume,” said Bruce Persohn, Aldi South Windsor Division vice president.
Aldi has almost 2,000 stores in 36 states, and is spending $5 billon to remodel 1,300 existing stores and open hundreds of new locations across the country, the retailer said.
Persohn declined to say how much Aldi is spending on the new Long Island stores.
Aldi is a limited-assortment grocer, which means the majority of the products it sells are its own private-label brands and its stores are smaller than traditional supermarkets.
Aldi’s new Long Island stores each will have about 12,000 square feet of retail space and “five aisles filled with the most popular products in the most commonly purchased sizes,” the company said in a statement.
Aldi reduces costs partly by having open-carton displays from which customers choose products, instead of paying workers to remove products from cartons and stock shelves.
The chain will run into increased competition from large competitors on Long Island.
Lidl, another German discount grocer that operates similarly to Aldi, entered the Long Island market last year with its purchase of 27 stores in New York and New Jersey owned by Bethpage-based Best Market, including all 24 on the Island, for an undisclosed price. With its purchase, the newcomer already has a Nassau County presence with several stores, including those in Massapequa, Merrick, Syosset, Great Neck and New Hyde Park.
Furthermore, Lidl plans to open more than 50 stores on Long Island over the next 10 years, the company said in December.
Meanwhile, Quincy, Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop, which operates more than 400 stores in five states and has the largest grocery market share on Long Island, is still planning to take over the last major family-owned supermarket chain in the area.
In January 2019, Stop & Shop said it planned to buy all 32 supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores owned by Bethpage-based King Kullen Grocery Co. for an undisclosed price.
But that deal has not been finalized since it was announced more than a year ago, and King Kullen closed three “underperforming” stores in Mount Sinai, Lake Ronkonkoma and North Babylon last summer and fall.
When I asked Stop & Shop on Friday about the status of the sale, spokeswoman Stefanie Shuman said, "The acquisition continues to go through the regulatory review process and has not yet closed."
Stop & Shop, which has 51 stores on Long Island, is owned by Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch retailer whose other grocery stores include Food Lion, Giant Food and Hannaford. Ahold also owns Peapod, the online grocery retailer.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at email@example.com.