Discount Grocery Chain Aldi Opens First 8 Southern California Stores

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Early shoppers enter Aldi food market in Moreno Valley during the grand opening on Thursday, March 24, 2016. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California is littered with the ghosts of supermarkets that tried and failed to conquer the region. Fresh & Easy came and went, as did Haggen.

Now it’s Aldi’s turn to try.

The German discount grocer opened eight Southland stores Thursday, the first of 45 locations set to open in the region this year. The initial wave is clustered around Aldi’s regional distribution center in Moreno Valley.

In coming to Southern California, Aldi is venturing into one of the most ferociously competitive grocery markets in the country. Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Trader Joe’s are local favorites. Dozens of farmers markets dot the region. Retail giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. have bulked up their grocery options, while huge online players Google and Amazon.com are expanding grocery delivery.