Iceland slides further into the red with costs up more than three-fifths

Frozen foods retailer improved sales by 17% in Republic, but has racked up €7.1m losses

Iceland now has 26 outlets spread across the country in locations such as Donegal, Cork, Dublin and Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Iceland now has 26 outlets spread across the country in locations such as Donegal, Cork, Dublin and Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Grocery retailer Iceland again boosted sales across its estate in the Republic, but profit slipped further into the red as costs spiked almost 62 per cent.

The UK frozen foods retailer posted a rise in sales of 17 per cent to €57.7 million as it continued to expand its store network here in the year to March 29th, 2019. Iceland now has 26 outlets spread across the country in locations such as Donegal, Cork, Dublin and Galway.

The business is run by British retailing veteran Malcolm Walker, whose Iceland parent company in the UK took back the Irish franchise from its previous owner in 2013.

And while it has been expanding at breakneck speed in the Republic, its accumulated losses have continued to rack up, totalling €7.1 million by the end of March.

In its latest financial year, Iceland Stores Ireland Limited’s loss before tax more than tripled compared to the previous year, to €2.5 million, as its cost of sales rose to €56.6 million.

Further sites

Nevertheless, directors were positive, saying the business “continued to trade successfully”, after it opened five new stores in the period. They added that “further sites are being sought for the current financial period”.

While Iceland’s pre-tax loss isn’t explained in its accounts, it follows a €2.9 million depreciation of its assets in the period, up by more than €1.1 million on the previous year in line with its store expansion.

Mr Walker has previously said he envisaged the group opening a significant number of new Irish outlets and ultimately growing its employee numbers “to up to 1,000”.

The average number of people employed during the year was 446, up from 369 over the previous period, and wage costs were €6.7 million.