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Super-Discount Grocery Store Aldi To Open 45 Stores In SoCal This Year

An ALDI store (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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It's no secret the grocery-store wars are vicious here in Los Angeles. Chains rise and chains fall quicker than Angelenos even have a chance to visit them. Pacific Northwest chain Haggen lasted less than a year, Fresh-and-Easy has been on its way out for the past decade or so, and Whole Foods is considering putting tattoo parlors into own spinoff-brand "365," launching this spring.

Obviously the market is ripe for another store. Seeing the opportunity, discount (but supposedly high-quality) grocery-giant Aldi has decided to open 45 stores in the region. On Tuesday morning, Aldi announced its first eight Southern California stores would open on March 24. According to CBS L.A., Aldi says its stores will bring 1,100 retail and warehouse jobs to Southern California.

Aldi sells itself as a super discounter, introducing American consumers to a more European style of grocery shopping. Aside from just selling their own in-house brands whenever possible, Aldi's cost-cutting philosophy extends beyond the produce. Instead of staffing people to bag your groceries, customers are expected to do it themselves. Sure, your arms may get a little bit more tired, but your gallon-of-milk will also cost $2.99.

Same news in the parking lot, where Aldi will request customers deposit a quarter to use a shopping cart. The philosophy follows that if people want their quarter back, they'll be inclined to return the cart to its proper location next to the grocery store's entrance. No employee needed to retrieve all the carts lazy customers leave lying all over the parking area.

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Most of Aldi's stores will be opening up in the Inland Empire initially, expanding to L.A. and Orange County over the coming year. In particular, the first eight stores will be opening up in Beaumont, Fontana, La Quinta, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa. By July, Aldi will have stores also open in Inglewood, Anaheim, Buena Park, Cerritos, South Gate, Simi Valley, and several other spots around the region.

It may be a while, however, before Angelenos see Aldi popping up north of the 10 freeway. Aldi is fundamentally a discount grocery store, which is why their stores are first opening up in markets not yet served by Whole Foods. Everyone needs to eat, though, and lots of these markets are drastically underserved by conventional grocery stores.