The first Aldi/Kohls mashup is now open

Remember when Batavia, IL-based Aldi Inc. and Menomonee Falls, WI-based Kohls Department Stores floated the idea of a collaboration?

That first store opened February 7 in Waukesha, WI.

The concept was called all kinds from “strange bedfellows” to the “new era of retail.”

For those who are scratching their heads, think of what both retailers are trying to accomplish.

I don’t know anyone who goes to Kohls without a coupon. The department store offers higher end brands, but also frequent loyalty coupons to shoppers. Their box is oversized for the future of sales – with many shoppers opting to order online.

Aldi is undertaking billions of dollars in remodels and development to add more fresh produce and featured items like specialty meats and cheeses, to stores across the U.S.

There are a lot of parallels in the target shoppers. Aldi wants loyal, deal-minded shoppers and Kohls wants more warm bodies on the sales floor.

At first glance, I thought they might be going for a food hall concept, but it appears that the first store simply chopped square footage off of Kohls and added an Aldi. This is similar to many of the Aldi and Lidl stores I’ve seen in Europe. They occupy a storefront in either a mall or a strip mall situation, and are rarely a standalone store like they are here in the U.S.

While officials have been adamant this is a pilot project only, there are reportedly about 10 of these concept stores in the works.

I know where one can go, if they need ideas. The Austin area still has only ONE Aldi, and it’s nearly a half hour drive from my house.

There’s a Kohls in Leander, TX, with your name on it, Aldi.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.