Retailers have voiced concern over the sale of Booker own-label products in the first budget easyFoodstore, which opened to the public in north London last week.
The latest low-price venture from easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou aims to fill the gap between discounters and food banks.
During February all 76 available product lines will be sold at 25p, rising to about 50p in March. The store mainly stocks Booker’s Happy Shopper and Euro Shopper products, as well as Bestway’s Best-in products.
A number of Premier retailers have contacted C-Store to warn that the store would devalue the Booker brands, especially if easyFoodstore expands.
Piush Patel, who sells Booker own label products at his Leaders store in Deptford, South London, added: “My gripe is that the products on sale are Happy Shopper. He [Stelios] will be hurting the indies near his first store. Booker should not supply him; they should be supporting the independent sector.
“EasyFoodstore should source their own white label goods. Booker and Bestway should not be supplying a new multiple which plans to launch in direct competition with us.”
Booker managing director of retail Steve Fox said easyFoodstore was buying at cash and carry prices. “Having founded easyJet, they know something about value and have spotted that Euro Shopper and Happy Shopper are about the best price and quality in the market. This is the most brand awareness we have seen since Coronation Street.”
A spokesman for Bestway said: ”They [easyFoodstore] are buying from us online and topping up in depot but are paying the same prices that independent retailers are paying. They are not getting any preferential terms, discounts or treatment. As a group we cannot dictate the selling price of goods to shoppers and if Easy Group want to make a loss on Best-in products then that is their choice.
”When the price rises to 50p if that happens then they will still be making a loss on the majority of lines. As a customer they have bought around 20 lines from us both online and in depot so their range is limited.”
The store was forced to close for the day last Thursday after running out of stock due to high demand.