As a result of the pandemic-induced grocery store boom, grocery chains have experienced a 200% increase in new store leases in 2021 as compared to 2019. And one retailer reigns supreme in the expansion category.
According to new data from commercial real estate services company Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), ALDI was the fastest-growing grocery chain in the United States in 2021. The rankings—which included grocers with more than $3 billion in revenue and at least 100 locations—were determined based on the retailers' number of new store openings and their square footage, as reported by Grocery Dive.
In 2021 alone, ALDI unveiled 88 new locations, which encompassed more than 2.2 million square feet of store space. This was just over 40% more space than Publix, which received the runner-up spot with its addition of 1.3 million square feet of grocery store space in Florida. Grocery Outlet—which added almost 900,000 square feet—took the third spot on the list, followed by Giant Eagle, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Amazon Fresh.
As predicted by the company in February, the German supermarket is now officially the third-largest grocery chain by store count, following Kroger and Walmart. ALDI currently operates 2,160 locations, and as part of its expansion plans, the grocer is looking to open approximately 150 new stores by the end of 2022, with a specific focus on the Gulf Coast. To kick off the initiative, the grocery chain opened its first location in Louisiana—its 38th state—on Feb. 9th.
In addition to growing its store footprint, ALDI is looking to bring curbside pickup to 300 more stores this year. This will provide another service option to 1,500 of the grocery chain's locations.