Discount supermarket Aldi appears to not be satisfied with its increasingly competitive grasp on grocery rivals Coles and Woolworths, as it dips its toes into the homewares market.
Aldi Australia has announced its latest ‘Special Buys’ offer Style Your Room — a range of home décor items in three different styles.
An Aldi Australia spokeswoman said the designs of the new range were based on national and international trends and include quilt covers, cushions, throw blankets, ottomans, wall art, rugs, side tables and towel sets.
Aldi would not confirm whether the range was intended to become permanent and did not provide a price range.
Deakin University marketing expert Michael Callaghan said the grand scale of the promotion was a departure from Aldi’s usual approach, signalling that it could be a trial to ascertain demand.
“This is one of the more extravagant competitions that they’ve run,” he told The New Daily.
“It seems to indicate they are quite serious about promoting this particular range.
“People signing up to the competition are required to include their details which could mean Aldi is looking at generating an extensive consumer database and to gauge interest.”
Mr Callaghan said he would not be surprised if the discount supermarket was testing the waters in the homewares market.
“If it was to be a permanent range, I don’t think that would be unusual,” he said.
“Aldi never used to have multiples of items as it goes against their mantra of very few product lines. There is room to claw back space for a permanent homewares range.”
Mr Callaghan added that once upon a time the major supermarkets, such as Coles and then-Safeway, used to stock a much larger range of homewares before shrinking these sections to prioritise shelf space for groceries.
Given Aldi’s competitive success in the grocery market, it may lead the supermarket giants to expand its other product ranges, he said.
“As grocery margins fall, supermarkets might look to expand ranges like homewares, so Aldi is coming in at all angles,” Mr Callaghan said.
University of Sydney Business School Associate Professor Shumi Akhtar said Aldi homewares would be a “refreshing addition” to the market and offer an affordable option for different consumer budgets.
She said even middle-of-the-range stores, such as Freedom or Myer, could see a temporary drop in sales during the promotion, not only Kmart or Big W.
However, Queensland University of Technology food retailing expert Gary Mortimer said Aldi relied on promoting limited stock and creating a sense of urgency to encourage impulse shopping.
“Kmart on the other hand is about maintaining its stock. Kmart will notice a slight impact on the week when these Aldi products go to market, but once they’ve sold out, shoppers will look to Kmart once again low priced, on-trend home furnishings,” he said.
“I think this move into home furnishings, simply taps into this trend.
“This week, chairs and throw rugs; next week, gym equipment.”