Hailing from the great nation of Germany, Aldi has fully established roots in the United States with stores in over 36 states and a strong international presence in Europe. Though it began with nondescript origins in a suburb of early 20th-century Germany, Aldi is remembered for many distinct aspects of its shopping experience.
With a very minimal, bare-basics store layout and high-quality products that nevertheless remain cheap, Aldi is a classic discount store. It’s rapid growth and popularity have led some people to wonder whether or not they can buy stock in the Aldi company.
In this article, we will discuss Aldi and where to buy its stock (that is, if it’s possible to buy stock in Aldi). We’ll also cover the relationship of Aldi to Trader Joe’s, run down some history of Aldi, and discuss the potential future of Aldi.
How Did Aldi Get Started?
Though today Aldi is a major and recognized grocery brand, it had somewhat recent innocuous beginnings. Though officially founded in Germany in 1961 by two brothers of the Albrecht family, Aldi truly began before that, at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1913, the mother of the future Karl and Theo Albrecht opened up a small grocery store in Essen. At the time, they weren’t so much as apples in her apple-selling eye, but in 1920 she gave birth to Karl, and in 1922 Theo followed.
The two boys were born grocers, and the two boys took over their mother’s business in 1946. They quickly expanded, and by 1960 they owned over 300 stores in Germany.
Trouble struck, however, when Theo and Karl argued about whether or not to sell cigarettes at Aldi stores. It wasn’t for altruistic reasons either: while Theo thought cigarettes would make a good profit, Karl reasoned that cigarettes would attract shoplifters.
The dispute, though petty enough, led to a fracture of the Aldi brand, a fracture that still exists today. Aldi (short for ALbrecht DIscount) was split into Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd (that is, Aldi North and Aldi South).
Today, Aldi Nord and Süd remain financially and legally separated, though both have a presence in the United States. Aldi Süd operates all those stores we see called Aldi, while Aldi Nord operates other interests in the United States (namely Trader Joe’s).
With its restructuring in 1961, Aldi was very likely the first discounter (or discount store) in the world.
A discount store is how it sounds: it can sell goods at prices lower than the generally perceived market value. In Aldi’s case, it can keep prices so low through several strategies.
First, Aldi orders in bulk. This does a lot to keep prices down, but their next strategy does even more. Anyone who’s been into an Aldi store will remember that the items for sale aren’t put up on the shelf like in traditional grocery stores.
Instead, in Aldi, the items remain in their bulk boxes as Aldi ordered them. By keeping the items in their bulk boxes, Aldi reduces the cost of paying an employee to restock the shelves as they get low.
Another strategy Aldi uses to run its items at a discount is to require patrons to pay for grocery bags. While this is common practice in Europe, in the United States, the practice remains relatively new for many midwestern states.
Finally, the vast majority of products that Aldi offers at their stores are of the so-called “generic” Aldi brand. Aldi can negotiate great deals with the manufacturers of standard grocery items to get exclusive good deals, which are reflected in the prices on Aldi’s shelves, using their financial leverage and interstate reach.
After its origins in 1961 in Germany, Aldi spread across the seas. Its current headquarters is in Batavia, Illinois, from which it oversees the operation of more than 2,000 stores, with over 25,000 employees under its fold.
Is Aldi a Publicly Traded Company?
If you want to enter “the room where it happens” at Aldi, you’re probably a little too late. Unless you’re a member of the Albrecht family, your chances of negotiating for shares are pretty low.
This is because neither Aldi Nord nor Aldi Süd is a publicly-traded company. Both remain in the hands of the Albrecht family or their business associates.
Though the two companies are in effect separate, the two operate together with the kind of mutual respect that could only happen with a family business. When Aldi decides to expand into a new country, for example, only one of the Aldi brands will have a presence there.
Whether Aldi Nord or Süd chooses to operate in the country, it will still be called Aldi for the sake of ease and good marketing.
The notable exception is the United States, where both Aldis compete with each other, if indirectly. Though Aldi Süd operates the Aldi stores in the United States, Aldi Nord has its fingers dipped in groceries with its ownership of Trader Joe’s. This relationship is an old one, Aldi Nord having owned Trader Joe’s since 1979.
In any case, unless Aldi decides to restructure and go public sometime soon, you won’t be able to buy or sell Aldi stock.
Can You Buy Shares of Aldi Stock?
Unfortunately, both Aldis are owned privately by members of the Albrecht family. Because they bring their vast sums of capital to the table when operating Aldi Nord and Süd, they don’t need to rely on the public option to help fund their business.
If Aldi were ever to sell their stock, you would be able to buy this stock on any platform where stocks are bought and sold. Robinhood is a favorite of Millennial investors everywhere, but be sure to do good research when considering signing up with a stock-trading platform.
What’s Aldi’s Stock Symbol?
As a private company, Aldi has no stock symbol. Companies only have stock symbols when they’re publicly traded. These symbols act as a helpful shorthand to facilitate brokers’ buying and selling. In short, if a company is not listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), it won’t have a stock symbol.
How to Check Aldi Stock Price
Though Aldi certainly is shared amongst members of the Albrecht family (and therefore can be said to have shares), it doesn’t have stocks in the sense most people think of, such as for-sale parts of the company that interested citizens investors can get their hands on for the promise of future financial gain. This is because Aldi is a private company.
If you’re interested in checking the stock price of an existing NYSE company, or checking whether or not a company has an NYSE listing, there are plenty of sites (like Yahoo Finance) that permit users to costlessly check and chart their favorite stocks.
Who Currently Owns Aldi?
As we mentioned above, Aldi is currently divided into two different companies: Aldi Nord (Aldi North) and Aldi Süd (Aldi South). Depending on the country you’re in, one of the two companies will be operating your local Aldi stores. In the United States, Aldi Süd operates the companies with the name Aldi written across the storefront.
According to Business Insider, much remains unknown about the personal lives of the reclusive Albrecht family who still own the Aldi empire(s), though one somewhat recent piece of news has stirred up a certain family drama for public view and dissection.
In 2018, Cäcilie Albrecht, wife of the late Theo Albrecht, died. In her will, much to the family’s surprise, she excluded her late son’s wife or any of his children from future business positions within the Aldi family.
The Guardian reports that the “grande dame” of the Albrecht Clan had grown upset with her son’s family for their lavish spending and excessive luxury lifestyles.
Besides this recent family drama, not much else is known of the Albrechts. Forbes estimates, however, that the family’s net worth is over $50 billion.
Of course, this net worth isn’t just confined to Aldi stores. Aldi Nord famously owns Trader Joe’s, a big arm of its Western Hemisphere profit.
Will Aldi Go Public or IPO in 2022?
Aldi has no plans currently in the works to go public or have an IPO, at least not public plans. It seems very unlikely that Aldi will go public shortly, but the possibility of an IPO in 2022 is ultimately nil.
That said, however, Aldi is making some news that may affect its structure and profitability as early as sometime in 2022.
Two years ago the Aldi companies announced their plans to merge Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd to make one big megabrand, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the company fractured in 1961.
What’s the reason for this merger? It’s undoubtedly not intending to go public. This restructuring seems to make a lot of sense in terms of economy and efficiency. Having one “main brain,” as it were, will allow the company to more successfully fight off potential competitors while keeping prices low in stores.
As each company has negotiated private deals for various products, both Nord and Süd bring their own profitable products to the table, a win-win for Aldi customers everywhere.
Though efficiency is very likely the main objective of the Aldi merger, the decision to merge Aldi Nord and Süd may also be attributed to the 2018 death of Theo Albrecht’s wife, Cäcilie. Though Aldi didn’t announce its merger until 2020, it had been working on the logistics since 2018, right after Cäcilie had neglected to include her daughter-in-law and grandchildren in her will.
Does Aldi Own Trader Joe’s?
Trader Joe’s exists only in the United States and is immediately recognizable as a neighborhood grocery store with good prices, locally sourced products, and, in many customers’ experience, happy employees.
It may surprise many Americans that their favorite local grocery store is owned by the Albrecht Family and represents the United States-region financial interests of the Aldi Nord company.
When Was Trader Joe’s Acquired by Aldi Nord?
What may even be more surprising than the fact that a German company runs the favorite grocery stop of Millenials may be the fact that Trader Joe’s has been run by a German company well before many of Trader Joe’s’ clientele was born.
Joe Coulombe first founded Trader Joe’s in 1967. He ran his low-cost neighborhood grocery store with efficiency and business tact, making it an attractive property for an Aldi Nord looking to expand into the United States market. As we mentioned above, recall that Aldi Nord and Süd have an agreement whereby only one company will have an Aldi presence in a given country.
Aldi Nord’s acquisition of Trader Joe’s allowed it to exploit the loophole in the two Aldis’ agreements, having a presence on American soil under a name other than Aldi.
Does Aldi and Trader Joe’s Have the Same Ownership?
As we’ve been detailing, the answer to this question is a little complicated. In the United States, Aldi as a grocery store is technically operated by a different company than Trader Joe’s. However, Aldi Nord, the owner of Trader Joe’s, has Aldi grocery store locations with the same branding and store format as the Aldis in the United States.
Thus, while Trader Joe’s and Aldi do have the same ownership, they also, significantly and confusingly, don’t.
Can you buy Aldi stock? Currently, the answer is no, and it doesn’t look like you’re going to be able to any time soon, as Aldi seems very comfortable remaining as a privately owned company.
Though the two Aldis will become one by the end of 2022, this doesn’t mean much for regular customers. If anything, such a move could bring prices down in your local Aldi, a win related to your wallet though unrelated to your stock portfolio.
Other grocery chains may be available for public investment, but Aldi is simply not an option at this time. For continued news on Aldi stock and other investments, you can follow one of the many online reputable publications like Motley Fool.
Related: Guide to Dividend Investing