The founder of EasyJet Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is set to enter the grocery discounter market by launching a pilot food store in Croydon named easyFoodstore.
“I have a feeling that there is a gap in the food retail market – a niche below some of the current budget operators such as Aldi and Lidl,” Haji-Ioannou said in a statement.
He recently registered the trademark www.easyfoodstore.com, which directs to a blog post outlining Sir Stelios’ plans and displaying the messages “from Stelios & EasyJet” and “Coming Soon”. It also invites would-be customers to register an email address for updates.
“I hope that a commercially viable venture offering affordable food will help many people in need as well as produce a viable return for the capital employed”
Easyfoodstore could be rolled out on a wider basis in 2014 using freehold retail sites, taking advantage of weak property prices in the retail sector, Haji-Ioannou said.
Insisting that “it is very early days in the project” the Cypriot-born billionaire said he was launching the pilot store on the ground floor of a previously acquired freehold property set to house several brands from EasyGroup, the holding company behind all the Easy-branded businesses.
“The ground floor will provide a site for a low-risk pilot store easyFoodstore. Concentrating on affordable, basic ‘no brand name’ packet and tinned foods at bargain prices, easyFoodstore underlines the need for additional reliable day-to-day provision of basic foodstuffs. No other details have yet been decided,” he said.
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“The top three floors will be converted into our very popular easyHotel brand, with a couple of the lower floors rented out as short-term office space via easyOffice.co.uk. There is an option to use a further two floors to house an easyGym.”
Sir Stelios said his interest in the grocery retail market had begun after reading news stories about the increasing use of food banks by people in the UK, and also because of a charitable programme called ‘Food from the heart’ undertaken by his foundation in Cyprus.
“I hope that a commercially viable venture offering affordable food will help many people in need as well as produce a viable return for the capital employed,” he added.