Aldi Owner Passes Away at 94 Years Old
ESSEN, GERMANY - News of the death of Aldi co-founder Karl Albrecht has sent shockwaves through the retail industry, as industry leaders mourn the passing of the man who built his mother's corner grocery store into a 5,000 chain global powerhouse.
In its tribute to him, Bloomberg painted the picture of a humble man who valued his privacy as highly as he valued the quality of the product he served on his stores' shelves.
‘‘Karl Albrecht preferred to avoid public attention and rejected any honors awarded to him, always pointing toward the successes achieved by his employees,’’ said Sarah Twyman, an Aldi spokeswoman. “He had a strong belief that everyone should be able to consume high-quality food and beverages at the lowest possible prices. He devoted his life to making this belief a reality.”
Albrecht's rise to global prominence was a long one filled with many hurdles he had to overcome along the way. Always an entrepreneur, the New York Times notes how a young Albrecht would walk with his brother, Theo Albrecht, through the streets of his boyhood home in Essen, Germany's Schonnebeck neighborhood selling fresh buns to help his family. The two brothers were drafted into the German army during WWII during which time Karl was captured by Russian troops on the Eastern front and held as a POW till the end of the war. When he and his brother returned from the war, they found that their mother's store had been miraculously spared from the Allied bombing raids. Together they decided to reopen it for business, and the rest they say is history.
Those who knew him best reflected on how the Aldi chain of stores were a reflection of the man who built them: simple, consumer-focused, and always, always growing. Unlike traditional retailers which often offer as many as 45,000 unique products, Aldi locations focused on at most 2,000, all packaged and displayed so as to make it possible to offer as low a price point as possible.
“Our only consideration when we are working out a product’s price is how cheaply we can sell it,” Karl Albrecht famously said.
Albrecht leaves behind a son, daughter, loving family, and a retail empire which will continue to shape the course of the industry for years to come. He will be missed.
AndNowUKnow would like to offer its heartfelt condolences to the Albrecht family for their terrible loss.