Aldi earns less
Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord (Aldi South & North) are divided into regional companies who report their figures individually and in a leisurely manner.
Thus, despite their vast total size, the company skilfully delays unwanted financial scrutiny. So every year a retrospective view has to be pieced together.
At least, however, we can now update Germany's fifth-largest food retailer to the end of 2011.
Aldi Süd boosted 2011 revenues by 4.4 per cent to a record €13bn, while sibling Aldi Nord grew only 0.3 per cent to €10bn.
Meanwhile, both companies got fewer bangs for their buck.
Aldi Nord's earnings fell a heavy €118m to €226m. Profit also declined by €73m to €546m at Aldi Süd which, however, increased reserves by €20m.
These figures need to be seen in context. 2011 was a year of rapidly rising input costs, especially on the commodities markets, while capex throughout the Aldi empire was held at the previous year's level.
Both Aldis, who remain a bellwether for the whole industry, increased their prices, but did not feel able to pass these on fully to customers.
None of the results should be over dramatised. Aldi Süd remains the undisputed king of the German discount segment and has already stated that revenues continued to grow during the first half of 2012.
Also, one should not forget that Aldi Nord has been busy making substantial changes: stores are being modernised and assortments revamped.
Although, after the closure of a number of less profitable stores, no major sales growth is expected at Aldi Nord in 2012, it is clear that the decline in revenues experienced in 2009 have been reversed.
Despite the fact that it is not possible to make direct comparisons between the two divisions (Aldi Süd allocates earnings from its coffee roasteries and real estate to its regions), the south generally beats the north on a number of parameters.
Aldi Nord runs 700 more stores than Aldi Süd, but still makes €3bn less in annual revenues. This translates to yearly sales of just under €4m per store against €7.1m at Aldi Süd. Aldi Nord's ebit margin comes in at 2.3 per cent against Aldi Süd's impressive 4.3 per cent.
There is no significant north-south divide in Germany anymore, but there still seems to be one within national retail icon, Aldi.
Podcast. Click arrow to listen to an audio version of the text: