Iceland cracks the Irish market with sales up 40 per cent

The frozen foods retailer is engaged in a major Irish expansion drive

A branch of Iceland in the Cabra, Co Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A branch of Iceland in the Cabra, Co Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Iceland, the UK frozen foods retailer that is currently engaged in a major Irish expansion drive, boosted its sales here by almost 40 per cent last year after a raft of new store openings.

Sales at the Iceland Stores Ireland, which now has 17 outlets following its latest opening this month in Gorey, rose to more than €31 million in the year to March 24th, according to accounts recently filed. The revenues were generated when Iceland’s Irish network comprised between 12 and 13 stores.

The group, which was founded and is run by the charismatic British retailing veteran, Malcolm Walker, made a loss on its Irish business of €360,000 over the year, with total losses on its balance sheet of more than €4.1 million.

Iceland is on course to open nine new stores in Ireland in 2017 in a €12 million expansion, with its next outlet in Limerick due for opening later this month. Three further opening are due this year in Cork and Clare, bringing the total estate to 21, employing 530 staff.

The parent group in the UK took back the Irish franchise from its previous owner in 2013. Mr Walker has been planning an expansion in this market ever since.

He has said it could open between 50-60 Irish stores, but as the property market recovered, he previously complained about the difficulty in finding suitable properties and sites.

Its model has traditionally focused on opening main street sites, frequently without parking, as opposed to the typical supermarket format in Ireland in recent years of large edge-of-town outlets with surface carparks.