Wednesday 21 February 2018

Aldi founder Albrecht dies as privately as he lived

Karl Albrecht, founder of supermarket chain Aldi, has died aged 94
Karl Albrecht, founder of supermarket chain Aldi, has died aged 94

Annika Briedthardt

Karl Albrecht, the man credited with bringing discount stores to Europe with the no-frills Aldi supermarket chain, died aged 94 last Wednesday, German retailer Aldi said in a statement.

Publicity-shy Mr Albrecht co-founded Aldi with his brother Theo after World War II and 70 years later was ranked by ‘Forbes’ as Germany’s richest person with a fortune of almost $26bn.

He resigned from the operational business in 1994 and stepped down from the company’s advisory board in 2002.

The Albrecht family did not issue a statement. It has fiercely guarded its privacy since the kidnapping of Theo for 17 days in 1971. He was eventually released after a ransom of about $3m was paid.

When Berthold Albrecht, Theo’s son, died aged 58 in 2012, the family announced the news weeks after the death with full-page spreads in German papers.

Karl’s brother Theo died aged 88 in July 2010

A spokesman for the city of Essen, where Mr Albrecht lived, said a funeral was held on Monday for close family only.

The Albrecht brothers’ chain developed from their mother’s small grocery business in Essen.

They created a major retailer through focusing on a limited selection of bargain goods in spartan stores.

Aldi, a contraction of ‘Albrecht Discount’, was split into two divisions covering north and south Germany in 1960. Theo took the north and Karl the south.

The dominance of Aldi and Lidl has made it hard for international firms to break into the German market.(Reuters)

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