Britain’s first easyFoodstore was forced to close on Thursday after eager customers cleared its shelves of products priced at 25p.
The latest venture from easyJet Founder Sir Stelio Haji-Ioannou was inspired by the widespread use of food banks in the UK. Haji-Ioannou said that he believed there was “a niche below some of the current budget operators such as Aldi and Lidl,” and has priced all items for 25p as part of a promotion that runs until the end of February.
“Due to the huge publicity that our 25p promotion has attracted, we have had queues of customers coming to shop today 3rd of February and hence we sold out all our stock of food items today,” the company said on its website.
“Unfortunately our usual suppliers are unable to meet the demand in order to restock the shop again fully until Friday.
Thanks for your patience and hope you will come back again soon during February when the promotion is on, always whilst stocks lasts.”
Discount stores have been steadily gaining ground in the UK supermarket industry in recent years, with German brands Aldi and Lidl taking a great deal of business from their Big Four rivals. With Lidl now planning to expand into more affluent areas, there could well be room in the market to undercut the under-cutters.
Denise Fox, a customer who also works at a food bank in Harrow, said she had stocked up on “the basics and there is nothing wrong with that.”
If such stores are to become more widespread, it may be the case that Haji-Ioannou’s brand will have to wait out the stigma of cheapness that used to close off the middle classes to Aldi and Lidl.
“People need to eat and the cost of living hear is more expensive,” Fox continued.
“This is another way the easy brand can serve the less well-off,” Jaji-Ioannou told The Telegraph earlier this week.