The United Kingdom’s big four retailers—Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons—have been facing fierce competition from German competitors Aldi and Lidl. The big four still occupy significant portions of the U.K. grocery market; Tesco occupies 28.2 percent, Asda 16.7 percent, Sainsbury’s 16.2 percent, and Morrisons 10.7 percent, while Aldi has 5.6 percent, and Lidl occupies 4.2 percent. Nonetheless, sales growth rates are clearly in favor of the two German discount retailers. Sainsbury’s grew 0.9 percent, Tesco and Morrisons both dropped 1.4 percent, while Asda lost 2.9 percent. Aldi and Lidl have grown 17.3 percent and 16 percent respectively. After reporting record annual sales in 2014, Aldi said that it will be selling goods online in the United Kingdom. However, Matthew Barnes, Aldi’s CEO, said that the retailer will not necessarily start selling food online. It will start with wine by the case, and then add non-food items in the spring. If you were Aldi’s CEO, discuss how you would go about analyzing whether to launch online sales or not. Would your decision be all or nothing— either provide online access to Aldi’s full range of products or only sell within the store without an online option?

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