April 8, 2016

The ladies conquer Aldi – at last

Aldi Süd models on the catwalk (photo: Heimifoto/L. Heimrath)
Blue Motion: Jette Joop turns an Aldi store in Düsseldorf into a catwalk (photo: Heimifoto/L. Heimrath)
Is this really the Aldi we thought we knew? For the first time in its history Aldi Süd (Aldi South) has used a fashion show to present a new clothing range. The ladies' spring collection, created by star designer Jette Joop, will be available at and add a touch of glamour to all the German discounter's stores as from Monday under the "Blue Motion" own label.

Using the motto "Gutes Design muss nicht teuer sein" (Good design doesn't have to be expensive), the range was celebrated with great razzamatazz this week at Aldi's flagship store on Königsallee, a chichi shopping street in Düsseldorf.

What a change to the usual no-frills presentation of clothing in wire bargain bins! In a further break with tradition, customers were turned away after midday in order to transform the store into a catwalk. This will have the old guard at Aldi rolling in their graves. But could it be that Aldi Süd is starting to get sexy in its mid-50s?

Even the way Germany's most profitable discounter marketed the show broke new ground. One hundred entry tickets were drawn in a raffle on Facebook, and Aldi created its own microsite to promote the event. Clearly, the old advertising days, characterised by the sober slogan "Aldi informiert" (Aldi informs), are on the way out.

Jette Joop (photo: Jette Joop)
Jette Joop: "The best applause is if people buy it" (photo: Jette Joop)
Talking on the red carpet against loud music and blinding flashlights, Jette Joop spoke engagingly about the democratisation of fashion: "I want as many women as possible to be able to afford high-quality fashion...Blue Motion is an uncomplicated, wearable range that women will feel comfortable in."

This approach has earned the daughter of famous designer Wolfgang Joop considerable scorn in the bitchy world of high fashion. Sceptics also claimed that any listing at Aldi could harm the image of her own "Jette Joop" label. But the clever business lady, who has won a listing at Germany's greatest retail brand, will be laughing all the way to the bank. As Ms Joop, who has also designed staff uniforms for Rewe, rightly puts it: "Aldi is a cult in Germany."

The 27-piece Blue Motion range includes light blouses and shirts, lounge pants and light cardigans with eight scarves, four shoes and three handbags. The black, white, grey and pastel tones make for a natural, sporty and casual look. "It was also important for us to show how easily each individual fashion item can be combined to make a really cool outfit," says Kim Aline Suckow, deputy head buyer at Aldi Süd. Items range from €7.99 to €19.99 and from size XS (34) to L (44/46).

Aldi Süd models with Jette Joop & Kim Aline Suckow (photo: Aldi Süd)
Aldi's fashion ladies: Models with Jette Joop (second from the left) and Kim Aline Suckow (third from the right) (photo: Aldi Süd)
Aldi has sold practical, high-quality clothing in its stores since 1976 and now ranks among Germany's Top Ten clothes retailers with estimated annual sales in this segment somewhere north of €1bn.

This time, however, the discounter has clearly landed another PR coup. Its first fashion show is now the talk of the town and, as in the UK this summer, news of the collection has enjoyed extensive coverage on TV, radio and the internet.

As from April 11, we shall see if the expense also leads to commercial success in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. But, in one sense at least, Aldi has already won because it is has put the ladies first at last.

Normally, women in retailing are mere stooges and drudges in a macho world with plenty of glass ceilings for female talent. Wherever, however, women are allowed to become the spotlight, sales and image improve exponentially because they invariably bring not just flair and charm but also lots of business talent.

Department store operators such as La Rinascente in Milan realised this instinctively long ago. Ground floor entrance areas are full of female brands where happy ladies with gleaming eyes swirl around and male customers are not displeased to stroll past them.

69-year-old German drugstore baron Dirk Roßmann announced only this week at his annual conference that he wants to make his stores "more feminine". Let's watch sales rise when he does so.

Aldi, a word to the wise, if you please: The more attractive you can make your world for women customers and employees, the more successful you will be – full stop.

Apparently, German CEO Roman Heini attended the event, which can be viewed on Aldi's microsite, incognito. Bet he got an eyeful! One can only imagine the conversation with Mrs Heini later the same evening: "Please believe me, Dearest, I was only there to see the merchandise..."

Podcast microphone (photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)
(photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)

Podcast. Click arrow to listen to an audio version of the text:

Lebensmittel Zeitung with digital sister (photo: LZ)
Our German B2B newspaper, Lebensmittel Zeitung, in print & digital
Read in German: By retail news editor Hans-Jürgen Schulz in 
Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 14, 08.04.2016

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Comments for this article are closed.

  1. J Abraham
    Created 8 April, 2016 15:53 | Permanent link

    Aldi and the Ladies...

    Bravo...this is indeed motivating...

  2. Mike Dawson
    Created 12 April, 2016 10:51 | Permanent link

    Sold Like Hot Cakes!

    Blue Motion sold like hot cakes on Monday, and the whole collection was bought up at most Aldi stores within only a few hours! Individual pieces are now selling on Ebay for twice the price! Bet they'll be continuing the cooperation...

  3. Bert
    Created 2 June, 2016 09:45 | Permanent link

    Not up-to-date

    Have you ever tried to get an answer from Aldi customer service other than standard? Change is generous, but everything else is not up-to-date. In my opinion selling high fashion does not cover so many other mistakes, especially adressing the right target audience.

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