easyFoodstore enters UK budget supermarket wars

London (AFP) –


British tycoon Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of no-frills airline easyJet, on Tuesday opened a pilot budget supermarket in London in an attempt to crack the country's booming discount grocery sector.

The neighbourhood-sized store in Park Royal, northwest London, will offer around 80 low-priced products, with all items costing only 25 pence (36 US cents, 33 Euro cents) throughout February as an introductory offer.

"This is another way the easy brand can serve the less well-off," said Haji-Ioannou.

"Given my experience in distributing food for free in Greece and Cyprus, this is a more commercial attempt to sell basic food."

Inside the store, whose motto boasts "No expensive brands, just food honestly priced", shoppers will be able to browse essentials such as tea, pasta, potatoes and tinned food, but only a very limited selection of fresh vegetables and no fresh meat.

Haji-Ioannou launched easyJet in 1995, and its distinctive orange and white logo, which also adorns the easyFoodstore supermarket, is now seen on 221 aircraft, serving 134 destinations in 32 countries.

Other brands in the "easy" range include buses, hotels, gyms and estate agents, helping the founder amass a fortune of around $1.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Budget supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi have gained market share in Britain since the financial crisis, and now account for 10 percent of grocery sales, double their share three years ago.