Harris Aslam’s Eros Retail has received £945,000 from HSBC UK to expand and invest in its Greens, Greens Local and Little Greens format stores.

The retailer told RN: “It’s about sustainable growth – developing new and existing stores. Our like for like sales for December were up 7.4%, we opened two stores in 2018 and we’ve got more planned for this year, with two planned to open by April.”

With nine stores currently up and running, Aslam plans to take the total to 14 using the invested funds, taking the staff count to approximately 200. He added that the company’s recent focus has been on brand proposition aspects such as ranging, sourcing and concessions in areas such as vaping and food to go.

There’s a real focus on our brand proposition through the Greens and Little Greens brands, this means we’ve put a lot of work into our ranging and the concessions we have in our stores especially in food to go. Outlining the proposition, he explained: “Our ethos is ‘how do we stand out?’ Our Greens brand is about that, taking an idea and using the store as a blank canvas. One example of this is our in-store pizza franchise, where we a trialling pizza delivery for £6 plus a delivery charge.”

Despite the renewed food to go focus, the retailer reiterated the importance of traditional convenience. “The sales balance in our stores is still very much convenience, but we are looking at how we use this to drive food to go sales up. You’ve also got to have the core convenience offering right before you can look to expand into other areas like food to go,” he added.

The retailer’s stores are supplied by Nisa but also source widely from local supplies. Aslam was director at the wholesaler up until 2015, aged just 19. He also founded self-serve slush brand Skwishee and sits on the non-executive board of the Scottish Grocer’s Federation.

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