Aldi, Westfield Chicago Ridge, Chicago Ridge, Ill.

Discount grocer Aldi has made its U.S. mall debut, opening in Westfield Chicago Ridge, an 800,000-sq.-ft. enclosed shopping center in suburban Chicago Ridge, Ill. The mall is a property of The Westfield Group.

Brightly lit and colorful, the 20,000-sq.-ft. Aldi resembles a prototypical Aldi in most respects.

“We were very effective in making the store interior fit our freestanding prototype,” Michael Jessen, division VP, Aldi, told Chain Store Age. “On the exterior, we worked closely with Westfield, and were able to provide a good presentation of the store on the footage we were given.”

The new Aldi has no parking lot entrance. It can be only entered through the mall. To ease parking concerns, special “Aldi preferred” parking is located just outside two mall entrances. There are about 75 preferred spaces in total.

Shoppers in the United States are still largely unaccustomed to supermarkets inside enclosed malls. To date, however, the Chicago Ridge store, which is a replacement for a nearby, now-closed Aldi that had grown old, has received an enthusiastic reaction.

“We are very thrilled with the response so far,” Jessen said.

Aldi operates 1,155 stores in some 29 states. The chain has more than 150 stores in the Chicagoland area, 54 of which have opened within the past five years.

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