Iceland sales rise as it pushes Food Warehouse expansion

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Iceland enjoyed rising sales throughout last year but reported a drop in profits due to major investments in marketing, prices and store refurbishments.

In the year to March 31, sales rose eight per cent to £3 billion while like-for-like sales jumped 2.3 per cent, accelerating from a two per cent rise in 2017.

Despite the growing sales, the frozen foods retailer said adjusted EBITDA dipped 1.8 per cent to £157.1 million.

It attributed the dip to continued “investment in marketing and price, together with problems in our supply chain infrastructure during December which caused poor overall availability in our key Christmas weeks, and inadequate supplies of some of our best-selling seasonal lines”.

Throughout the year it continued to push an aggressive store expansion plan, opening a net 27 new stores including 23 of its big-box Food Warehouse format, while closing six.

“This makes us increasingly confident of our ability to trade the two store formats alongside each other in a growing number of towns across the country,” it said, encouraging speculation that it could be eyeing the soon-to-be vacant Maplin and Toys R Us stores.

Iceland group managing director Tarsem Dhaliwal added: “This year we have continued to take a long term view and to invest for the future: expanding ourstore footprint, enhancing the appeal of our existing stores through a major programme of refurbishments, growing our award-winning online business, continuing to roll out new and exciting food lines that are unique to Iceland, and developing our supply chain to support the growth of our retail estate.”

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