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- 2014 - January - 27th -

Compiled by Karen Brune Mathis

Aldi boosting U.S. expansion strategy, to invest $3B

Aldi, the no-frills, limited-selection grocer, is ramping up its growth plans to open about 130 stores a year in the nation over the next five years, up from its current pace of 80 stores a year.

Plans for two Aldi stores already have surfaced for Northeast Florida – one in Middleburg and another in St. Augustine. Aldi is widely expected to add more area stores.

The Batavia, Ill.-based company announced in late 2013 it wants to operate almost 2,000 U.S. stores by 2018. That means it wants to open 650 stores by then, which accelerates its growth strategy.

Aldi also announced plans to build a regional headquarters and distribution center in Moreno Valley, Calif.

Aldi says it is the nation's leading low-price grocer. It said in a Dec. 20 news release that it intends to invest more than $3 billion to pay for land, facilities and equipment and create more than 10,000 new jobs at Aldi stores, warehouses and division offices.

Aldi President Jason Hart said in the release that the company is entering new markets, such as Houston, and has expanded its presence in South Florida and New York City.

It says that according to its business model, shoppers can save up to 50 percent on more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items, including nearly 70 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, without clipping coupons or buying in bulk.

Since opening its first store in 1976, Aldi said it has expanded to nearly 1,300 stores across 32 states and now employs more than 18,000 people, making it the 25th largest grocer in the nation, according to Supermarket News.

Aldi says it focuses on:

• Volume purchasing, by concentrating its full buying power on 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items in the most common size.

• Exclusive brand products, in which more than 90 percent of products at Aldi are its own exclusive brands rather than national brands.

• Special buys, in which Aldi weekly offers 20-30 food and non-food products at a special value.

• Cutting costs, such as not offering "nonessential services," such as banking, pharmacies, check cashing and bagging clerks.

Aldi, which was started in the same family that created Trader Joe's, entered Central Florida in 2008 and now has about 60 stores in 45 cities, including Ocala and Daytona. Its Central Florida distribution center is in Haines City.

Dunkin' going up on Beach Blvd.

R.P. Witt Construction Inc. will build a Dunkin' Donuts at 13627 Beach Blvd. It's a $300,000 project.

Licensed to serve

Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan issued business licenses for:

• Shrinathji Subway LLC, to Himanshubhai Patel, 9585 Regency Square Blvd. N.

• Celino's Pizza and Italian Restaurant, to Celinos Pizza Inc., 2640 Cesery Blvd., No. 7-8.

• EZ Grill, to Ababseh Khaled, 6675 Arlington Road N.

• JC's Seafood, No. 3, to Amer Crab Inc., 4414 Moncrief Road.

• Freshfields Jacksonville LLC, to James Narmore, 5555 W. University Blvd.

• S Nak Shak #2, to Fadi A. Aji, 7806 New Kings Road.

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