Iceland food warehouse

The Food Warehouse is to open its biggest-ever store featuring the first ‘Wine Warehouse’.

The new Cheltenham branch, due to open on 13 November, is 27,000 sq ft, double the average Food Warehouse store which is 10,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft.

The Wine Warehouse is a “store within The Food Warehouse” featuring wine specialist staff and a tasting counter where customers can sample before buying.

It will offer a “much wider range than a standard Food Warehouse store,” with over 300 beers, wines and spirits according to a spokesman for the retailer. A “fine wine bay” will stock a further 25 premium lines.

The new branch is also said to have a bigger range of frozen, grocery catering and toys than other branches.

Launched by Iceland as a new store format in 2014, The Food Warehouse has 81 branches in the UK, up from 52 a year ago.

A further seven including Cheltenham are listed as ‘coming soon’ on the supermarket’s website.

The chain has been described as “a cross between an Iceland and a Costco” by Iceland MD Richard Walker, who last year announced expansion would accelerate from 25 new stores annually to 30.

Speaking to The Grocer at the time, he said he “would be disappointed if the chain didn’t eventually reach 400 stores”.

“When we first opened The Food Warehouse three years ago it was really something of an experiment that we were not sure would even last,” he said. “But we quickly came to recognise that this represented a genuine new channel for the business through which we could reach a different customer base.”