The holy grail of bargains, also known as the Aldi middle aisle, has taken a hit from COVID-19 with shoppers seeking in vain.
The holy grail of bargains, also known as the Aldi middle aisle, has taken a hit from COVID-19 with shoppers seeking in vain.

Why supermarket's iconic specials are hard to find

ALDI'S popular middle aisle has been turned into something more resembling a deserted isle during the COVID-19 pandemic with shoppers reporting rows of empty shelves due to supply chain issues.

Shoppers in north Brisbane are reporting Aldi's Special Buys in the middle aisle - where anything from lawn mowers and tents to drum kits and electronic bee hives are on offer- are looking increasingly empty.

Aldi joins Kmart and other retailers who have been caught out by stretched overseas supply lines and an over reliance on imported products from low-cost Asia countries.

Aldi middle aisle at Lutwyche this week.
Aldi middle aisle at Lutwyche this week.

 

"I've been in a number of stores in the past few weeks and I have never seen it so barren," said one northside shopper. "I reckon the container loads of cheap stuff from China have dried up and they can't fill their shelves. There are slim pickings and they can't all be panic buying fake fiddle leaf figs and backyard native beehives."

Another Brisbane middle aisle shopper took to Facebook earlier this month to complain about the barren shelves.

"I have been a supporter of Aldi in Brisbane for the last 12 years but I am becoming disillusioned with the amount of stock they have for their specials," said the shopper.

"Six weeks ago Aldi advertised computer monitors so I went to their shop to find out that they had sold out. On inquiring how many stock units they had I was told two!"

Aldi middle aisle at Lutwyche earlier this month.
Aldi middle aisle at Lutwyche earlier this month.

 

Another attempt by the shopper to purchase an advertised five-piece cordless drill set also failed. "I arrived at 8.05am and the stock had again sold out," he said. "This time they had five available for sale. This make a mockery of the catalogues and is misleading."

Aldi concedes COVID-19 is having an impact on the stocking the middle aisle.

"We love marking our calendars with the latest must-have Special Buys, so we are just as disappointed if we see an emptier than usual middle aisle," said a company spokesperson. "While our local and international supply chains remain under pressure due to COVID-19, some advertised Special Buys may be delayed."

 

 

QUT retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer said the supply shortages seen at supermarkets earlier on in the pandemic was now being felt at discount stores such as Kmart, Aldi and Big W.

"Most Australian retailers source globally to deliver low prices but COVID-19 has impacted both on supply chain and manufacturers as factories have closed down," said Dr Mortimer.

He said Australia did not have the manufacturing ability to supply these retailers with goods such as electronics and soft furnishing so the supply chain issues would have to be dealt with. One option would be for retailers to reduce the frequency of their specials to preserve stock.

 

Originally published as Why Aldi specials are hard to find


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