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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

Karl Albrecht, the man credited with bringing discount stores to Europe with the no-frills Aldi supermarket chain, has died aged 94. Albrecht and his brother Theo founded Aldi after World War Two and seventy years later was ranked by Forbes as Germany's richest person with a fortune of almost $26 billion. He resigned from the operational business in 1994 and stepped down from the company's advisory board in 2010, when his brother died. The Albrecht family fiercely guarded its privacy since the kidnapping of Theo for 17 days in 1971. He was eventually released after a ransom of about $3 million was paid. A spokesman for the west German city of Essen, where Albrecht lived, said a funeral was held on Monday for close family only.The cradle of the Albrecht brothers' chain was their mother's small grocery business in Essen, from which they created one of the nation's largest food retailers with their focus on a limited selection of bargain goods in spartan stores. The privately-held company acquired the U.S. grocery chain Trader Joe's in 1979.

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- Reuters