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Aldi just had its first setback in Australia

Photo: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Aldi, the German discount supermarket chain that’s caused massive headaches for Australia’s supermarket duopoly of Coles and Woolworths, has suffered its first setback in 15 years of trading in Australia, announcing today that it will close its online liquor outlet in three weeks.

The retailer, which launched in Australia in 2001 and now has 400 stores after moving into South Australia and Western Australia in 2016, has been slow to roll out a liquor strategy, a core part of the Coles and Woolworths businesses. Alcohol only began appearing in Aldi stores in NSW in 2011.

The online store did not open until August 2013, and www.aldiliquor.com.au was a world-first for the German business. But it appears to have failed and will close after less than three years, despite stocking prominent brand names alongside its in-store brands.

And the company’s cheap wines have caused some consternation in the Australian wine industry, with its homebrand wines regularly winning medals at local wine shows. Last December, a $4.99 bottle of rose won a Blue Gold medal at the 2016 Sydney International Wine Competition.

In an email to customers this morning, Aldi Australia said it decided to close the online store in order to concentrate on the expansion into South Australia and Western Australia. In-store alcohol sales will continue.

The site will shut down on 4pm, March 24, 2016.

Here’s what the email says:

Dear Customers,

ALDI Stores Australia regrets to announce the closure of its online liquor store – ALDIliquor.com.au – as of 4pm, Thursday March 24 2016.

ALDI Australia is constantly reviewing our business operations and processes to ensure we can continue to deliver exceptional value for our customers every day. With our current expansion into South Australia and Western Australia this decision has been taken to enable ALDI to focus on creating the best possible in store experience for customers, while continuing to deliver high-quality products at permanently low prices. The ALDI in-store liquor range will be unaffected by this change.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their support of ALDIliquor.com.au. The site will be trading as usual until the closing date with some fantastic special offers to stock up your liquor collection. Our standard terms and conditions will continue to apply to all purchases including the 100% satisfaction guarantee, which will be honoured after the closure date. For any holders of store credits these can be used until closure of the store with any remaining credit exchangeable for liquor online or an in-store gift voucher. For any enquiries please call 1300 ALDI.

A spokesperson for Aldi Australia told Business Insider that “staff who will be impacted by this change will be offered the opportunity to move into other
positions, across a number of areas within the business”.

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