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Discount grocer has nation’s approval

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While supermarkets are battling it out in the ‘supermarket wars’, budget retailers are cashing in on consumers’ preference of the high street’s discount stores.

Data produced by PwC and Local Data Company at the start of the week highlighted that the top shop winners on the high street were (in numerical order), charity shops, coffee shops, tobacconists/e-cigarettes, discount stores and bookmakers.

Frugality dominating the high street is good news for Approved Food, the largest online retailer of short dates and residual stock food and drinks. The company provides savings of up to 70% on the cost of each grocery basket.

The online retailer was set up by Yorkshire men Dan Cluderay and Andy Needham. Relatively unknown until recently, Approved Food has bounced back from its rejection on Dragon’s Den in February 2015, something that has spurred its success:

“As Dan and I discussed together at the time, going bust on National Television might not be the greatest feeling but we had conviction in our business and a desire to actually create something we could both be proud of!” said Needham.

By staying true to their budgeting values, both Cluderay and Needham have witnessed the grocer take off. Within 24 hours of founder Cluderay appearing on Bargain Fever Britain, a show based on the ‘bargain fever’ gripping the nation, Approved Food’s sales had exceeded the company’s whole first month of training. The first Bargain Fever Britain episode was followed up by Cluderay making a Television appearance on Loose Women, and providing Approved Food with further exposure.

Continued growth is important for the business, which moved to a 60,000 sq ft warehouse in September last year. It now dispatches 600 orders per day, with average shoppers spending £40 per week. At the time the e-tailer moved, it struggled to pay rents on the warehouse. Instead of aiming low, it decided to seek the backing of investors and tactically hone in on both its televised successes and failures.

Approved Foods doesn’t just want to be seen as an online retailer, it wants to compete with other online grocers:

“We want to be more than just an online retailer, we want to be as synonymous to online grocery as Google is to search and Facebook is to social networking” its website states.

In 2014 the business dispatched over 9m items, resulting in staff increases. Though Dragon’s Den did not back the company, Approved Food is a prime example of making the most of all of media platforms and thriving from its television exposure.

The duo are adamant that the key to their success is remaining true to the company’s humble market beginnings. Cluderay said:

“Andy and I remain very much in the real world where every penny counts – just like our customers”.

Approved Food looks set to thrive in 2015, with the second part of Bargain Fever Britain set to air Tuesday 24 March. The episode will teach youngsters to pitch products, similar to the grocer’s market beginnings – ideal for today’s nation of thrifty high street shoppers.

Published on Wednesday 18 March by Rachel Gee

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