A German expat stoked about Aldi coming to Perth explains the power of the underdog brand

That ‘quintessential plastic bag’. Photo: Ralph Orlowski/ Getty Images.

German expats living in Perth are champing at the bit for the opening of the discount supermarket, Aldi, to open in the West Australian capital.

There are reports that community social media groups are littered with countdowns, photos of “coming soon” signage at shopping centres in the lead up to the stores opening on June 8.

The German retailer’s move into Western Australia is its latest assault on the Australian groceries market.

In April it announced that it was opening stores in Mirrabooka Square, Kwinana, Belmont and Lakeside Joondalup.

The stores form part of long term expansion plans, with up to 70 stores to be developed across Western Australia and 1,200 permanent jobs.

A total of 20 stores are expected in the state by the end of 2016.

Aldi also recently expanded in South Australia and pushing harder against the main players, Coles and Woolworths, in the eastern states.

It has even put the pressure on Australian supermarkets in places it hasn’t even opened yet. See the charts and explanation here.

Fran Rimrod, a senior producer with WA Today has written an eye-opening piece about why the supermarket chain has became so successful in its own country, and why as a German expat she is so excited for its launch.

“So what’s set to become just another cheap shopping option for Perth is so much more to the Germans living here – it’s part of our social fabric,” she writes, adding that now when she returns to Germany she visits the supermarket just to reminisce.

“As a kid, shopping at Aldi wasn’t glamorous. Carrying the quintessential plastic bag with the Aldi logo around was an unmistakable sign of your middle-class-ness,” she says.

“I remember my father patiently trying to explain to me that they were essentially THE SAME THING, because Aldi would buy the excess stock of these brands, repackage them (in very similar wrapping) and sell them at a fraction of the price.”

She recalls later, when she was a young adult, the brand went through an image transformation to eventually become the iconic store it is today, and proud German product as well-known as Audi, Allianz or Adidas.

“So as tragic as it may sounds, I will be there when the first Aldi doors slide open in Perth, stick a dollar coin in the trolley (refund system) and browse the aisles, not least in the hope to find one or two products of my childhood.”

Read Rimrod’s article in full here.

*Additional reporting by Chris Pash.

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