Aldi is a leading global discount supermarket chain with over 9,000 stores in over 18 countries, and an estimated turnover of more than ?50bn. Based in Germany, the chain was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946 when they took over their mother's store in Essen which had been in operation since 1913; it is one of the world's largest privately owned companies.
The earliest roots of the company trace back to 1913, when the mother of Karl and Theo Albrecht opened a small store in a suburb of Essen. Their father was employed as a miner and later as a baker?s assistant. Karl Albrecht was born in 1920, Theo Albrecht in 1922. Theo Albrecht completed an apprenticeship in his mother?s store, while Karl Albrecht worked in a delicatessen. Karl Albrecht took over a food shop formerly run by F. W. Judt who already advertised that they were the "cheapest food source". Karl Albrecht served in the German Army during World War II. In 1946, the brothers took over their mother?s business and soon opened another retail outlet nearby. By 1950, the Albrecht brothers owned 13 stores in the Ruhr Valley.