Iceland Foods hails exports and store openings

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United arab emirates

Iceland added a net total of 43 stores to its estate in the past financial year
Iceland added a net total of 43 stores to its estate in the past financial year
Iceland Foods boasted of strong progress in store openings and exports in its full-year results.

The frozen food retailer said it had created 1,500 jobs by the net opening of 43 stores over the past year and expected to open 40 more in the coming year, creating a further 1,250 posts. The group currently operates 833 stores in the UK and 11 overseas.

During the year, it opened two shops in the Czech Republic and acquired seven Iceland fascia stores in the Republic of Ireland from its franchisee AIM Group. It said it was planning a major expansion programme in the region.

Strategic markets

Iceland also highlighted its entry into strategic markets in Africa and the Middle East in its annual results statement. With the help of its shareholders Brait, based in South Africa, and the Landmark Group, based in the Middle East, it had begun exporting significant quantities of products to South Africa, it said.

It had also begun developing an operation based in Dubai to import and distribute goods throughout the United Arab Emirates and into Saudi Arabia, it added.

The retail chain also reported the successful cultivation of online sales. Having begun trials in May 2013, it had rolled out internet food shopping to 280 outlets by the end of the year, it said.

Pre-tax profit hit

In the 52 weeks to March 28, total like-for-like sales had risen 2.7% to £2.71bn. However, the firm took a pre-tax profit hit of £24.1M, with profits falling from £226.3M in 2013 to £202.2M in the past year, reflecting investment in customer service, online activities and overseas expansion.

That said, it managed to reduce net debt across the year by more than £75M, slashing it from £875.2M to £805.1M.

“This has been a year of major investment for Iceland both at home and overseas​,” said Iceland chairman and ceo Malcolm Walker.

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