3:00pm Friday 30th May 2014
By Chris Baynes
The founder of budget airline easyJet has been forced to ground plans to open a cut-price supermarket in Croydon after failing to secure planning consent.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman of easyGroup, will not open the easyFoodstore in Addiscombe Road after being told by Croydon Council it fell outside the town centre's retail zone.
He announced plans for the shop, selling low-price, non-branded tinned and packet foods and designed to underscut budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi, in February.
It would have opened on the ground floor of the former Metlife building, opposite East Croydon station, which easyGroup is to convert into a an easyHotel and offices.
The group never submitted a formal planning application for the shop but Croydon Council advised it would not be willing to waive restrictions on town centre retail outlets.
The store would have been based in the former Metlife building
Sir Stelios, worth an estimated £1.8bn, will instead test a prototype version of the shop at the same site in the next few weeks before deciding whether to open properly elsewhere.
Consumers and retail experts will be invited to give verdicts on the test shop.
If successful, it is likely to lead to a chain of shops under the easyFoodstore brand in areas of London with a low-income demographic.
Thornton Heath, Peckham, Catford and Woolwich are among the areas under consideration.
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