Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet, is to invest a portion of his multimillion-pound fortune in a new no-frills supermarket with a pilot store planned to open in Croydon.
The businessman’s plans announced on Sunday are likely to alarm discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl.
The Greek tycoon has applied to trademark the name easyFoodstore, and if the Croydon pilot store is successful, plans to expand the business within the next year. He said: “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.
“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.”
Haji-Ioannou said he saw the opportunity for a business following the publicity of the widespread use of food banks. He added: “I hope that a commercially viable venture offering affordable food will help many people in need as well as producing a viable return for the capital employed.”
According to the application filed with the Intellectual Property Office, easyFoodstore will offer a wide range of products including fresh, processed and dried foods, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks as well as newspapers and magazines.
The application also leaves open the option for easyFoodstore to set-up a loyalty card scheme and the store already has a website, easyFoodstore.com
Haji-Ioannou said the plans are currently still in early development and the pilot store is due to open on the ground floor of a nine-storey building that easyGroup has acquired in Croydon. The building is also expected to house its easyHotel, easyOffice and easyGym businesses.
There is no publicised opening date for the first easyFoodstore.