Friday 30 September 2016

25p budget shop EasyFoodstore forced to close early as customers clear shelves

Published 04/02/2016 | 17:16

The exterior of a new easyFoodstore in Park Royal, north-west London
The exterior of a new easyFoodstore in Park Royal, north-west London

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's newly-opened budget food store has been forced to temporarily close after customers stripped the shelves bare of its 25p products.

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EasyFoodstore, in Park Royal, north-west London, is due to reopen tomorrow morning at 9am once it has restocked.

A notice on the store's website said the store closed after "queues of customers" arrived to take advantage of the 25p promotion that attracted "huge publicity," adding "hence we sold out all our stock of food items".

"Unfortunately our usual suppliers are unable to meet the demand in order to restock the shop again fully until Friday," the note went on.

"Thanks for your patience and hope you will come back again soon during February when the promotion is on, always whilst stocks lasts."

Sir Stelios has launched the concept store in an attempt to cash in on the very cheapest end of the grocery market.

The store is selling a "limited and basic range" of items for 25p each this month as an introductory offer under the slogan: "No expensive brands. Just food honestly priced."

It sells a range of grocery items including pasta, biscuits and beans, but the list of initial products does not include fresh meat, fruit or vegetables.

Sir Stelios, who has run food initiatives through a charitable organisation in Greece and Cyprus, said: "This is another way the easy brand can serve the less well-off.

"Given my experience in distributing food for free in Greece and Cyprus, this is a more commercial attempt to sell basic food for 25p per item to those unwaged or low-waged living around Park Royal."

The pilot store is the latest entry in a fiercely competitive grocery market, with discounters Aldi and Lidl posing challenges for the traditional "big four" of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

Retail figures show the market is becoming increasingly polarised with the strongest sales gains coming at the top and bottom ends - with the likes of Waitrose doing well on one side and Aldi and Lidl on the other.

Sir Stelios first announced plans for a pilot site in Croydon in August 2013, saying then that he had "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".

Sir Stelios and his family still own about 35% of easyJet and are the biggest shareholders.

The brand has expanded to easyCar, easyHotel, easyGym and easyProperty.

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