A new study by GfK GeoMarketing examines current practices among Germany's grocery retailers. The agglomeration of businesses - so-called 'location coupling' - remains a very popular practice. However, a countertrend toward free-standing retailers is emerging, particularly in large cities.
On the whole, the trend of 'location coupling' among discount stores and full product-line merchants in the stationary grocery trade continues. These coupled locations consist of at least one discount store and a full product-line merchant as well as the occasional drug-, clothing- or shoe store.
Discount stores: Strong push toward coupling
Aldi has the most coupled locations of all discount store merchants in Germany. 879 Aldi sites are coupled with another merchant, which amounts to around 21% of all Aldi locations. By contrast, only around 10% of Lidl's locations (276) are coupled.
Coupled locations among both Aldi and Lidl are increasing more quickly than free-standing locations. Aldi's branch locations expanded by around 0.5% between 2008 and 2010, while the number of coupled locations grew by around 2.8% during this same period. Lidl experienced growth of approximately 4.3% during this time, although it has significantly fewer locations than Aldi. The number of Lidl's coupled locations grew by 14%.
Among the classic, full product-line merchants, the supermarket chains Edeka and Rewe are particularly fond of coupling locations. Both of these companies are characterized by small non-food sections and a