Iceland mulls “aggressive” expansion for Food Warehouse

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Food Warehouse

Iceland is set to swoop in on stores left vacant on the high street in the wake of the recent flurry of administrations and CVAs to expand its Food Warehouse fascia.

Speaking to Press Association, Iceland managing director Richard Walker said the frozen food and grocery retailer had “active and aggressive” plans for new stores to grow the arm.

He told the news wire that Iceland was mulling all the “opportunities out there” for Food Warehouse, of which there are currently 66 stores in operation.

Walker there were plans to add another 30 each year.

He added that they were keeping an eye on the raft of company voluntary arrangement (CVA) rescue deals being struck by the likes of Mothercare, Carpetright and New Look, as they were presenting an immediate opportunity for expansion.

Another factor playing in Food Warehouse’s anticipated expansion was the raft of empty sites expected to be left behind by Sainsbury’s and Asda as the two Big 4 grocers undergo a portfolio restructure to appease the Competition and Markets Authority.

“Retailers are shedding space and we are looking at every one of those,” Walker said.

First launched in 2014, Food Warehouse stores are usually located in retail parks and are around three times the size of traditional Iceland shops.

There are also plans to grow the core Iceland chain – which currently has around 870 stores in the UK – with a few extra a year to “fill in the gaps”, as well as expanding its Irish arm from 20 stores to 50 in the next couple of years.

The news comes shortly after Iceland opened its first store in Norway with franchise partner Nordic.

Earlier this year, it broke the lucrative Chinese market through a partnership with JD.com to sell Iceland-branded groceries in the country.

Iceland also has stores via franchise deals in the Channel Islands, Spain, Portugal, Malta and the country of Iceland.

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