British supermarket chain Iceland has recorded flat full year results as a result of the “extremely challenging” UK grocery market.
In the 52 weeks to 26 March, the frozen food grocer‘s total earnings rose by a slight 0.2% to £150.5m year-on-year, which was lifted by more stringent cost control and stronger margins.
Like-for-likes fell by 2.7% during the year from a 4.4% decline in the previous year as Iceland faces strong competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl.
During the 12 month period, Iceland opened 16 stores in the UK including six larger new Food Warehouse format stores which combine a cash-and-carry format. 11 stores were closed in the year.
Iceland currently operates 864 stores and according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel, the food retailer has a 2.1% share of the UK grocery market.
It plans to open a further 25 new stores this financial year, but “will only open additional new Iceland stores in exceptionally strong locations”.
The grocer also noted a significant drop in high street footfall and smaller baskets as a result of a large number of chains offering top-up groceries at low prices.
Chief Executive and Chairman Malcolm Walker stated that the group had made “good progress” and that its Power of Frozen campaign has helped to “improve public perceptions of frozen food”.
“The UK food retail market remained exceptionally challenging throughout the year, due to the combination of intense competition, food price deflation and changing consumer shopping patterns” Iceland said.