ESSEN, Germany — Theo Albrecht, one of the two reclusive scions of the Aldi grocery chain, died here on Saturday, according to reports Wednesday. He was 88.
Albrecht, who also owned Trader Joe's, was a partner in the global Aldi grocery-chain empire with his brother, Karl. Both lived in near-isolation.
In 1946 the two brothers took over a store in Germany that was run by their parents, according to reports. They shortened the name of the company from Albrecht Discount to Aldi, and expanded before splitting up the business between them in 1960. Karl Albrecht took control of stores operating in southern Germany (Aldi Sud) while Theo Albrecht took over the northern Germany sites (Aldi Nord).
Together the two, which operate as two separate companies using different logos, have 9,436 stores in 18 countries, generating annual revenues of $68.7 billion, according to SN's Top 25 Global Retailers report, compiled by Planet Retail.