A brand new supermarket is opening in Basingstoke next month - but what do we know about it?

The Food Warehouse is still a relatively new brand and only has around 100 stores nationwide.

It is a part of the Iceland Food Group and is viewed as the company's answer to Costco, the bulk-selling American chain superstore that offers membership in exchange for discounted products.

The Food Warehouse is much like a normal supermarket and no membership is required.

Ahead of The Food Warehouse's opening at Unit 4, St Michael's Retail Park in Brighton Hill next month, we take a look at everything you need to know.

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 just more 100 stores nationwide. Iceland has 800 stores in comparison. 

But it plans 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 St Michael's Retail Park 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 37-year-old 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.

What time will The Food Warehouse be open? 

The shop will open between 8am and 9pm Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, with extended opening hours during November and December to 11pm Monday to Friday to "meet their seasonal trading requirements".

Are there any special shopping hours for NHS staff? 

There are special shopping hours in place for NHS staff at the moment. It is believed that if the pandemic is ongoing by the time Basingstoke's branch opens that he following hours will be adhered to.

Currently, the Food Warehouse is opening its stores daily from 7am until 8am for NHS staff only. Then between 8am and 9am there is a priorty only hour for vulnerable people and the elderly. 

How many jobs will the new store opening create? 

The shop is set to create between 20 and 25 new jobs. 

When will it open? 

The company previously told the Gazette the new store was provisionally scheduled to open in early May, and, judging from the work being carried out this week, it looks like it could still be on track for opening next month.

What will the store look like?

The store set for the retail park in The Harrow Way will have a warehouse type look with wide shopping aisles, polished concrete floors and no ceilings.

A 149 square metre mezzanine floor will be installed to be used for storage.

Currently, the nearest store to Basingstoke is 15 miles away in the Reading Link Retail Park.

Look inside an existing store here