Aldi's business is booming during the pandemic. Here's why

A lot of retailers are getting hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Some iconic retailers may not even survive, with stores like Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and JCPenney facing potential permanent shutdowns after months of having to keep their physical locations closed to the public.

"This is the most catastrophic crisis that retail has faced — worse than the financial crisis in 2008, worse than 9/11," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told the Daily Mail. "Almost overnight, the retail economy shifted from being about things people want to things that they need."

Not all retailers are facing this sort of crisis, though. In fact, some — like Aldi — are doing better than ever.

What's Aldi's secret?

How is Aldi managing to do so well in a time when other stores are struggling to stay afloat? For starters, as a grocery store, Aldi is considered an essential business and has been able to stay open through enforced shutdowns throughout the pandemic. Its low prices are also luring shoppers in during a time of economic instability.

"Aldi is perfectly positioned as the low-priced leader," retail strategist Burt Flickinger explained to CNN. "A family with five kids and a rescue pet spending $200 a week of groceries at a typical supermarket chain is spending $120 to $140 a week at Aldi."

With millions of Americans out of work right now, Aldi's bargain prices are making it more attractive to consumers than ever.

Aldi's smaller blueprint is an advantage during the pandemic

Cost concerns aside, a lot of people are also turning to Aldi as an alternative to other major retailers which are more likely to have massive crowds. Customers are finding it easier to get in and out of the smaller store, making it easier to practice social distancing.

As CNN noted, Walmart stores are typically around 178,000 square feet, while the average supermarket is around 40,000. Aldi, however, is much smaller, with the average store being just 12,000 square feet. "I was in and out in less than 30 minutes," one Aldi shopper told the outlet. 

For customers looking to avoid a crowd and get their shopping done quickly, Aldi is a safer — and cheaper — option.