The Food Warehouse set to open in Hereford – what we know so far

THE Food Warehouse looks set to open in Hereford, and bosses say more than 25 jobs could be created.

The supermarket, run by retail giants Iceland, said up to 25 full and part-time jobs could be created once the shop is open, with additional jobs for store fitting and maintenance.

Here’s what we know so far about the new shop, set to open in a Holmer Road retail park in Hereford.

What is the Food Warehouse?
Founded in 2014, the Food Warehouse was created to be Iceland’s “big brother” – a large bulk-buying destination for shoppers.

Iceland describes the Food Warehouse as a “concept store” and is a relatively new brand with around 130 stores nationwide. Iceland has more than 800 stores in comparison. 

But it has been planning to open a further 30 stores across the UK over the next year. 

Each is designed to be a large format warehouse store covering between 8,000 and 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space. It has drawn inspiration from Costco’s minimalist look and big-name products. 

The company is expanding into retail parks to enable shoppers to (mostly) get free parking. This will be the case at Salmon Retail Park, Holmer Road, where parking is free.

On its website it says: “Our stores offer a fresh new way to shop.

“Pick up our bigger packs and make big savings on everyday products from brands such as Heinz, Pepsi and Capri-Sun.

“Look out for some of the exclusive partnerships we have across a range of foods by brands including Slimming World and Greggs.”

Who owns the company? 

The Food Warehouse is owned by the Walker family, who also own Iceland. 

Its managing director is Richard Walker, the son of Iceland’s founder and executive chairman Michael Walker.

In an interview with PR Week last year, Michael spoke about having his dad on hand for advice. He told the publication: “My father is our executive chairman.

“He’s still very hands-on and we continue to learn from him every day. Since I became managing director I have taken responsibility for people and stores, as well as being MD of the Food Warehouse, our larger-store-format brand.

“My dad is very keen to give me full autonomy in these areas, but of course he is an unrivalled source of advice, having run the business for close to 50 years.”

What items does it sell? 

The retailer sells frozen, fresh and dry produce as well as homeware items. It carries the same lines as Iceland as well as international brands.

It also sells cleaning products, toys, and alcohol.

What will it look like and when will it open?

No pictures have been released about what the new store will look like, but it’s expected to be similar to other shops across the UK.

Here’s a look at a recently-open the Food Warehouse in Wemouth.

Hereford Times: Inside Weymouth's new Food Warehouse. Picture: Dorset Echo

Hereford Times: Inside Weymouth's new Food Warehouse. Picture: Dorset Echo

Hereford Times: Inside Weymouth's new Food Warehouse. Picture: Dorset Echo

And a look inside a different branch.

Iceland has not yet revealed when it plans to open the store, but the Hereford Times has asked the chain for comment.

Will Iceland in Eign Street stay open?

The Food Warehouse has had to ask Herefordshire Council to vary a planning condition for the unit at Salmon Retail Park.

But documents submitted with the application said Iceland has “no intention” of closing its existing shop in Eign Street.

Plans said having both brands had been successful in other cities such as Gloucester.

What does it mean for the area?

The same planning documents said the shop would “positively contribute” to the local area through the “retention and creation of jobs”, with the unit now vacant after Oak Furnitureland went into administration.

Dreams and B&M currently occupy the other two units. 

A planning and retail assessment said there was “no viable demand from non-food retailers” at Salmon Retail Park, made up of three units around 1.2km north of Hereford.

Consultants felt there was a “clear threat” that vacant units would make “no positive contribution to the local economy in challenging economic times when job creation is critical” as the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Why did the Food Warehouse pick Holmer Road?

The document added that bosses had considered the Old Market and Maylord shopping centres, but at the time there were no units large enough for their plans.

The consultants said the plans would secure the long-term occupancy of the store, and bring employment opportunities.

It would also strengthen an established retail location, bring investment, improve the local visual amenity through refurbishment and reduce vehicle shopping miles.

What did Herefordshire Council’s planners say?

In conditions attached to the permission being granted, planners said there must be no lorries arriving, unloading or leaving the site outside the hours of 6am to 7am Monday to Saturday, and not at all on Sundays, Bank or Public Holidays.

They also said no noise-generating external plant or equipment can be installed without prior-approval, and the net sales area of the shop cannot extend to more than 900 square metres.

Before the Food Warehouse opens, it must provide “full details” of a scheme for cycle parking, as well as a plan detailing all staff parking to the rear of the building.

Hereford Times