German’s Richest Man Passes Away
Karl Albrecht, the man credited with bringing discount stores to Europe with the no-frills Aldi supermarket chain, died aged 94 last Wednesday, Aldi said in a statement.
Publicity-shy Albrecht co-founded privately held Aldi with his brother Theo after World War Two and seventy years later was ranked by Forbes as Germany’s richest person with a fortune of almost $26 billion.
He resigned from the operational business in 1994 and stepped down from the company’s advisory board in 2002.
A spokesman for the city of Essen, where Albrecht lived, said a funeral was held on Monday for close family only.
The cradle of the Albrecht brothers’ chain was their mother’s small grocery business in Essen, from which they created one of the nation’s largest food retailers with their focus 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 rival Lidl has made it hard for international firms, such as Wal Mart, to break into the supermarket scene in Europe’s largest economy. Aldi Sued, which has about 1,880 supermarkets in the south of Germany, had sales of about 15 billion euros ($20 billion) in 2012, according to media reports.