Aldi (stylized as ALDI) is the common brand of two German family-owned discount supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries and an estimated combined turnover of more than €50 billion. The chain was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946 when they took over their mother’s store in Essen. The business was split into two separate groups in 1960, that later became Aldi Nord, headquartered in Essen, and Aldi Süd, headquartered in Mülheim.
In 1962, they introduced the name Aldi (a syllabic abbreviation for Albrecht Diskont), which is pronounced [ˈaldiː] (About this soundlisten). In Germany, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd have been financially and legally separate since 1966, although both divisions’ names may appear as if they were a single enterprise with certain store brands or when negotiating with contractor companies. The formal business name is Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Compagnie.
Aldi’s German operations consist of Aldi Nord’s 35 individual regional companies with about 2,500 stores in western, northern, and eastern Germany, and Aldi Süd’s 32 regional companies with 1,900 stores in western and southern Germany. Internationally, Aldi Nord operates in Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, Portugal, Spain and Poland, while Aldi Süd operates in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, China, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Both Aldi Nord (as Trader Joe’s) and Aldi Süd (as Aldi) also operate in the United States with 1,600 stores between them as of 2017, and the U.S. is the only country to have both Aldi companies operating outside of Germany. In 2020, it was reported that Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd have been planning since 2018 to merge the two branches by 2022 in a bid to reduce redundancies and raise efficiency.