Retail Politics

TED THAI for TIME

DISCOUNT LIVING: Pile it high, sell it cheap

It's 11 a.m. on a drizzly Saturday in downtown Aachen, a city in western Germany near the Belgian and Dutch borders. With Germany teetering on the edge of recession, most stores in the neighborhood are half-empty. But on a street called Löhergraben, one store is packed: Aldi. With brown speckled floor tiles, garish neon lights and a limited assortment of products in half-opened cardboard boxes, it's the least-inviting place around. But it's also the cheapest, and so the line to Aldi's two cash registers stretches the entire length of the store — about 30 people in all, their carts overflowing with...

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