Retail news round-up on February 2, 2016: Sainsbury's close to take control of Home Retail, EasyJet founder opens discount grocery store and Lidl's expansion.

EasyJet founder pilots easyFoodstore shop in London

EasyJet founder is taking on the 'Big Four' supermarket chains, with the launch of a discount food store.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has opened a trial easyFoodstore shop in Park Royal in north-west London.

It will sell a range of everyday grocery items, including pasta, biscuits and beans for 25p each in February as an introductory offer.

Shares in Home Retail soar nearly 12% as Sainsbury's nears deal to buy the Argos owner

Shares in Home Retail soared last night as Sainsbury’s neared a deal to buy the owner of Argos.

Sainsbury's is close to acquiring Home Retail Group after it emerged that the duo were agreeing a price of between 160p-165p for the DIY chain, valuing it at up to £1.34bn.

It is understood the pair would try to finalise a price before the deadline but may ask the panel for an extension to thrash out final details.

Lidl submits 48 planning applications in fourth quarter

Lidl is gearing up for a rapid expansion after lodging 48 planning applications in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, compared to 17 from its rival Aldi.

The German discounter has also outlined plans to open 280 stores in London and the M25 area. This includes upmarket areas such as Chiswick, Fulham and Kensington.