Private Brand Pioneer Karl Albrecht Dies

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Karl Albrecht, the co-founder of discount grocer Aldi has died aged 94. He died in Essen, Germany on July 16 and was buried in a private ceremony on Monday. Albrecht was the second-richest person in Germany and the 35th-wealthiest in the world, with an estimated fortune of £12.2bn.

In 2009 he and his brother Theo were inducted into the Private Label Hall Of Fame for founding Aldi and their contributions to private brand. The pair took control of their mother’s grocery store in the German city of Essen. From the small local store, they built the global recognized discount retailer. Aldi now has nearly 5,000 stores worldwide, including 1,300 in the United States.

In 1961, after a disagreement about whether to sell cigarettes, the brothers divided the company into two operating units within Germany, Karl running Aldi Süd and Theo running Aldi Nord. As they expanded into other countries, Karl would control operations in Britain, Australia and the United States, while Theo controlled the stores in Europe. Theo stepped into the American market in 1979 by buying the Trader Joe’s and later expanding in the U.S.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.