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Being loyal to your favorite store has its perks – but sometimes, you need to pay for those perks. Target this week became the latest retailer to introduce a paid membership tier to its Target Circle program, with extra benefits for members. Walmart, Kroger and CVS are among major retailers that have done the same in recent years.

And now ALDI wants in. “Do you love grocery stores? Do you love memberships?” it asked its social media followers this week. “Then you’re gonna love this brand new grocery store membership. Introducing ALDI+. For the modest price of $0 per year.”

So, April Fool’s! About a week late.

In what looks less like an effort to fool its fans and more like an effort to troll its competitors, ALDI’s message goes on to explain that “it’s not really a membership. Because there is no membership. Cause you don’t need one to save at ALDI.”

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The deep discounter further explains on its website that, “unlike other stores, we don’t make you sign up for a membership to save. You save up to 40% on groceries compared to other stores just by shopping here. Kinda makes you wonder why other grocery stores have memberships at all? Why don’t they just… lower their prices?”

The “free membership program that’s not a membership program” comes a month after ALDI embarked on major expansion plans, as it aims to step up its competition with those retailers that do offer membership programs, paid and otherwise. Back in March, the retailer announced plans to open 800 new stores by the end of 2028, bringing its total U.S. store count well past the 3,000 mark.

Hundreds of those stores will pop up in areas where ALDI is already well-established, like the Northeast and Midwest. Others will be added in newer locales for ALDI out west, like Southern California and Phoenix, together with new markets like Las Vegas.

And a significant number of new ALDI stores will soon appear where Winn-Dixie and Harveys locations currently stand. ALDI said last month that it had formally completed its purchase of Southeastern Grocers and its approximately 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores. Later this year, about 50 of those stores will begin a conversion process, reopening as ALDI locations in 2025. It’s the first step in what ALDI calls a “phased approach” toward converting “a significant number” of its newly-acquired stores, though it reiterated that “a meaningful amount” of Winn-Dixie and Harveys will continue to operate under their current names.

“With this commitment to add 800 stores in the next five years, we’ll be where our shoppers need us,” ALDI USA CEO Jason Hart said in a statement. Shoppers “are asking for more ALDI stores in their neighborhoods nationwide,” he continued. “While price is important, we earn their loyalty by stocking our shelves with only the best products and offering a quicker, easier, and more enjoyable shopping experience.”

And, ALDI is pleased to point out, you won’t be charged for your loyalty. Only for your shopping cart. But at least you get that quarter back when you’re done. And after you’ve paid for all of those other retail loyalty programs – you’re going to need to save every quarter you can.

One Comment

  1. Victim of identity theft/ affiliates of your first rewards cards

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