Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

New global buying hub will see Aldi pool its resources across Europe

Published:  16 September, 2019

Aldi has revealed additional details of its latest move to create a wine-buying hub in Salzburg, Austria, which will have a major impact on the way the discounter buys, blends and sells wines across markets.

The new global sourcing department will act as centralised hub for a number of categories, with wine playing a key role.

Mike James, Aldi UK’s much-lauded wine buyer, is one of the execs due to join the fledgling team in Salzburg.

The discounter shared details of the new centralised hub at its tasting last week, where new UK wine co-lead Joshua Heley said the move would allow the multi-national to build economies of scale with its best sellers, while also removing unnecessary duplication across the international portfolio.

“We have a few lines that work across all Aldis. For example some of our Rioja volumes are huge. There is a opportunity to pool our international resources better,” said Heley (red, white and rosé wine) who will now be heading up the UK wine team along with Iain McFadyen (sparkling, fortified).

One of James’s final projects for Aldi UK has been organising the Icons range – Aldi’s first range of online exclusives – which carry higher price points of up to £20.

Speaking of his imminent move to Salzburg, James added: “Aldi is big player in lots of different countries. We would be missing a trick by not streamlining, and that goes for categories across the shop floor – not just wine.

“It’s important to make sure that each range is right for the specific country from a domestic point of view, which is where Josh will be very much anchored in the UK market. My role will be to look at those wines where we could possibly do some joining up on volumes and build economies of scale.”

James has been in the role of lead buyer for the past nine years, during which time he has been credited with raising the bar for Aldi’s wine offering.

Part of what has made Aldi's range so dynamic is its close involvement with blending and making the wine it sells – the majority of which is own label.

This flexibility has resulted in what James calls “bloody good wines and quirky blends all [of which offer] fantastic value for money”.

“In the early days we had to beg people to supply for wine Aldi. We just didn’t have the reputation. Now, we have people knocking on our door – world-class winemakers who want to work with us.

“It’s something I’m immensely proud of, that we’ve been able to produce consistently good quality across the category at all price points. It’s my aim for us to continue to lead the market," he told Harpers.