The Easyjet founder, Sir Stelious Haji-Ioannou is to launch his own low-cost supermarket brand called EasyFoodstore.com.
The billionaire, whose Easy Group empire includes low-cost hotels, gyms and the Easy Jet airline, says there is ‘a gap in the grocery market below the niche of Aldi and Lidl.’
“If the pilot site shows there is a need for this offering, EasyFoodstore could be rolled out on a wider basis from 2014 onwards using freehold retail sites – buying into the weaker real estate prices in that sector,” he added.
Jon Copestake, Retail Analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit said that the venture may come too late to tap into the discounting sector: “The brand already has a budget reputation that would appeal to the discounting space. However, this would be an incredibly challenging undertaking.
He added: “Not only is traditional retail struggling with weak consumer sentiment and rapid growth in online sales but is has also seen a refocus by retail giants like Tesco in a bid to win back custom. The discount space, which is certainly growing fast, has already fuelled the expansion of Aldi, Lidl and a number of smaller “pound shop” chains.”
The first pilot store will be launch Croydon, South London on a ‘low risk basis’ and The EasyFoodStore.com website says that the project is “coming soon.”
Sir Stelios was knighted in 2006 for services to entrepreneurship.