How is the Economy Doing? One Way to Judge is to Check Out the Increasing Crowds at Discount Supermarkets : German Discounter ALDI Surges in the USA

When world leaders or Presidential candidates in the USA make statements about the state of the economy, who is telling the truth?

One way to judge how the economy is doing is to look at the clientele shopping at discount supermarkets. This Week in Germany points to the rising success of food discounters ALDI and Lidl throughout Europe:

Rising food costs surely explain much of the discounters’ success: As in America, the middle classes are trying to save money and are flocking to the cheaper stores to buy their groceries, which can cost some 30 to 50 percent less than at ordinary supermarkets.

But there is also an upcoming surge of ALDI in the United States, starting this fall in Florida, as written at Shopping Centers Today:

In August Aldi announced a major U.S. expansion, promising at least 20 new stores for the central Florida cities of Orlando and Tampa.

Supermarket News calls it the Florida Invasion, with 100 new stores planned in the US this year, and Texas next in 2010.

Doris Hajewski at JS Online pointed to the state of the US economy in connection with the new Aldi surge:

The low-profile, no-frills German grocery chain sees opportunity in the sagging U.S. economy, and Aldi is stepping up both its U.S. expansion plans and its profile.

One US Aldi shopper has described her shopping experience at Aldi this way:

I can honestly say, after that first shopping experience to my local Aldi grocery store, I changed the way I looked at grocery shopping forever. My husband and I left Aldi that day with a loaded shopping cart full of grocery items as well as an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our grocery receipt was almost half of the amount we would have normally spent for the same amount of groceries.

We can confirm that this is also true in Germany, where the current economic realities are the same as in the USA. As written by Carl Cronan:

“People are focused on saving money, and Aldi is perceived as good value,” observes Patrick Berman, senior director, retail brokerage with Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. in Tampa.

David Behm, vice president of Aldi’s Florida division, based in Orlando is quoted as follows:

“Once people see the way we operate our stores and the success of our stores….” he says. “We’ve never pulled out of a single market in the United States.”