LETTER: ALDI responds to claims from Dick Smith

A strong purpose drives growth and profitability. At ALDI we strive to provide our customers with high quality products at affordable prices.  Losing focus of this purpose just adds costs.  This might sound like a gross simplification of our business, but in our efforts to ensure efficiency this remains our driving purpose.

Our focus on the essentials and our optimisation of the discount principle has made ALDI the successful Australian retailer it is today. We offer a consciously reduced, carefully selected range of food products and other daily necessities. We offer approximately 1,600 grocery items and a changing selection of 80 to 120 Special Buys every week.

ALDI has been operating in Australia for 17 years; the business started with two stores in NSW (Bankstown and Marrickville) and has now expanded to more than 500 stores.  Today, ALDI employs more than 11,500 Australians and partners with more than 1,000 Australian suppliers to deliver our range of high quality products.

Our exclusive brands form the heart of our core product range. These allow us to offer an optimally selected range of products and guarantee quality at the best price. We continually refine our exclusive brands together with our suppliers while supplementing these with other popular national brands.

Underlying this approach is a number of operating principles that are the key to our global and Australian businesses success. 

The family-owned business initially founded in 1913 was divided in 1961 to form what has since developed into two groups of companies: ALDI SOUTH and ALDI North.  Today, the ALDI SOUTH Group of which Australia is a part, employs approximately 126,000 employees, and operates over 5,900 stores and 85 regional distribution centres around the world.

The approach adopted more than a century ago lives on within ALDI’s corporate culture.  Simple, responsible, consistent – this is how we conduct our business operations. Our responsibility for people, customers, suppliers, the communities we operate and the environment. 

As a privately owned business we have never sought to ‘maximise’ profits at the cost of something or someone else.  Rather, we opt for long term sustainable growth strategies.

Continually maximising profits becomes a zero sum game.  If you truly partner with suppliers, you’ll develop long term prosperity for both parties to the benefit of customers.  If you look after your employees they will enjoy turning up to work and they’ll enjoy looking after customers.  And, if you treat your customers with honesty and trust, they’ll return you with custom.  Maintaining this balance and not swaying from our single minded customer proposition is what we believe has paved the way for our success.

In addition to providing employment to tens of thousands of Australians, both directly and indirectly, we are proud to have influenced the entire grocery sector, which has lead to price deflation benefiting all Australian shoppers.  Our estimates suggest that we are saving Australians more than $1.5 billion per year.  This is money that is returned to the economy for bills, holidays, education and other vital expenses.

Our international heritage and global presence is no secret, nor are our intentions in Australia.  We want to supply great quality products at affordable prices.  We do this by adopting a distinct business model that is different to our competitors. 

We proudly support an Australian first buying policy and have shared our growth with hundreds of Australian manufacturers and thousands of staff who have been direct benefactors of our business growth.

We are not a business trying to artificially accelerate market share and we’re not looking to match the store count of our competitors. We do not cut corners, we do not abuse our market power, we do not mislead our customers.  We do not avoid tax payments, we do not squeeze our suppliers.  We keep things simple and we focus our attention on what matters most to consumers. 

We are proud of the reputation we have built and feel strongly that the recognition we have earned as Australia’s most trusted brand is a result of our commitment to openness, honesty and integrity in all our dealings.

Tom Daunt

CEO of ALDI Australia