Croydon food hall

The 25,000 sq ft Croydon food hall opened this week

The owner of a new food hall in Croydon has pledged to match the quality of Harrods and Selfridges - at half the price.

With 40 vendors, the 25,000 sq ft food hall opened on Thursday as part of the UK’s biggest designer outlet, Croydon Village Outlet - only to close two hours later as a result of crowd control issues.

The outlet’s owner, Marco Cash, told The Grocer it would reopen at 10am on Friday and that he had high hopes for the food hall. “We want to put Croydon on the map for food and we will provide the same high-quality artisan offering as the likes of Selfridges, Harrods and Borough Market but at half the price,” he said.

He added that he planned to expand the food hall to 38,000 sq ft by February 2014 and that it would eventually have up to 200 staff.

Despite being marketed as an artisan offering, he denied the mix of food retailers, which includes a Dutch baker and a Belgian chocolatier, would be too pricey for locals.

“I’m told there could be 20,000 people passing through the food hall hourly, so we are looking to bring a new kind of customer to Croydon and change its run-down perception,” he said. “You can have an artisan sausage baguette here for £3 or a fine dining experience for £50 this food hall will be bigger and cheaper than what’s on offer in the West End.”

He said he was unfazed by Westfield’s plans for a £1bn redevelopment of Croydon’s Whitgift centre. “Demand calls for something now and not in the future,” he said.