Iceland opens more stores but earnings fall

ICELAND announced yesterday it planned to crack on with its expansion, opening more than 40 new stores this year to create up to 1,250 jobs.

Last year, Iceland opened 46 new stores, creating 1,500 new jobs. Spending on new shops drove underlying earnings for the year to the end of March down 11 per cent to £200.2m.

Total sales were up 2.7 per cent to over £2.7bn for the last financial year, while like-for-like sales were flat, with the company also reporting that net debt had fallen to £805.1m from £875.2m over the year.

The retailer, which has an estimated 2.1 per cent share of the UK grocery market, has been looking to accelerate its expansion with the roll-out of a new online shopping service at 280 stores.

Iceland chairman and chief executive Malcolm Walker said: “This has been a year of major investment… both at home and overseas.”