ALDI to open 70 new stores by year's end

NEW YORK -- Budget grocer ALDI plans to open 70 new U.S. locations by the end of 2020 as part of its "coast-to-coast" expansion plan, the company announced Tuesday.

As part of its "new wave of expansion," the grocer will enter Arizona, its 37th state, with four new stores in the greater Phoenix area this year, the company said. By 2021, ALDI expects to break ground on a new regional regional headquarters and distribution center in Loxley, Alabama.

The center in Alabama will serve stores in southern Alabama, and throughout the Florida Panhandle, as well as Louisiana, marking the company’s presence in 38 states, ALDI said.

While it works to expand its store count, ALDI CEO Jason Hart said the company is lowering prices on some items as U.S. food prices continue to increase. The cost of food rose for the sixth straight month in June, according to data from the Labor Department.

"As we continue to expand, we promise to do everything in our power to offer the lowest prices, every day, without exception," Hart said in a statement. "In fact, as food costs are rising across the country, we're lowering prices on hundreds of items to meet our customers' increased need for savings."

To date, the company has 2,000 stores and said that with the expansion plans, it is on track to become the third-largest grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022.