After siphoning business away from more upscale competitors, low-cost grocer Aldi is now going to start resembling them more in appearance. The supermarket chain will spend $1.6 billion to spruce up its US stores while keeping prices down, reports Bloomberg. The effort is targeted at big grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, even though the latter is technically a corporate cousin. The German chain also plans to open 650 new stores across the US, in order to have about 2,000 by the end of next year, per Consumerist. A favorite of millennials because of its low prices, Aldi has already renovated 300 stores by adding sleeker displays, windows that allow more natural light, higher ceilings, and a wider first aisle. The company also plans to add more organic produce, fresh meat, and alcohol options.
The company says the facelift delivers on "customers’ desire for a modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items." Business Insider points out that Aldi's new look is quite similar to the wide aisles and soft lights of 365, the low-cost chain Whole Food started to compete with the likes of Aldi. Despite the progress, Aldi faces faces a tough battle in its goal to have 60 million monthly shoppers by 2020, up from 40 million now. Grocery industry sales are essentially flat, projected to rise only .2% this year and 1% or less over the next five years, per Bloomberg. Supermarkets are increasingly feeling the heat of low-cost, all-around sellers like Walmart and Amazon. "For the typical US grocery store, there’s just too much square footage right now," one analyst tells Bloomberg. (Here's what millennials want in a grocery store.)