Businessman Dick Smith has lashed out at supermarket giant Aldi, accusing the German retailer of taking money and jobs out of Australia.
Mr Smith fired off a scathing letter to Aldi’s owners this week, demanding to know ‘when will enough be enough?’ when it comes to their expansion plans.
His comments came in response to the $40 billion privately-owned discount retailer being this month voted Australia’s most trusted brand.
Australian businessman Dick Smith (pictured) has lashed out at Aldi, penning a scathing letter to the owners of the discount German retailer
‘In Australia your Aldi company has been phenomenally successful,’ Mr Smith wrote in an open letter to Aldi owners Karl Albrecht Jnr and Beate Heister.
‘It has not only taken billions of dollars of business from existing Australian owned companies, but it has now been voted the most trusted brand in Australia, and it has also been reported that it is our most profitable supermarket chain.’
But Mr Smith claimed Aldi’s operations were doing Australians out of a job.
‘Your formula of employing less staff per dollar turnover compared to the typical Australian owned supermarkets will ultimately mean less Australians employed,’ Mr Smith wrote.
‘We already have a problem in Australia. We have 14 per cent youth unemployment and over 20 per cent youth underemployment – that is, where our young people can’t get a proper full time career.’
Mr Smith also accused Aldi of being ‘secretive’ and said they had a duty to explain how their future plans will impact Australians.
Mr Smith said Aldi had ‘taken billions of dollars of business from existing Australian owned companies’ (stock image)
‘Our tradition here is one of openness. However I notice much of the reporting on your company mentions secretiveness. It appears that neither of you have ever conducted a media interview on your plans for the expansion of Aldi,’ he said.
‘Can I ask why you are so secretive? Surely being worth $30 billion US dollars (that’s $40.63 billion Australian dollars) you have a responsibility to be open and explain your long term plans to all those who are affected.’
Mr Smith called on Aldi’s owners to visit Australia ‘and explain what you are planning to do in the medium and long term future that will affect our children and grandchildren’.
Aldi has hit back, saying it has saved Australians more than $1.5 billion per year (stock image)
Aldi hit back, saying they ‘are saving Australians more than $1.5 billion per year’ and that money is then ‘returned to the economy for bills, holidays, education and other vital expenses’.
‘We proudly support an Australian first buying policy and have shared our growth with hundreds of Australian manufacturers and thousands of staff who have been direct benefactors of our business growth,’ Aldi Australia chief executive Tom Daunt said, according to news.com.au.
‘We are proud of the reputation we have built and feel strongly that the recognition we have earned as Australia’s most trusted brand is a result of our commitment to openness, honesty and integrity in all our dealings.’
Aldi opened its first store in Sydney in 2001 and filled a void in the discount supermarket business that arose when discount grocery chain Franklins went out of business.