Analysts gave a mixed response to this week's trading statement from Iceland. Sales improved after the introduction of a new pricing and promotional strategy at the end of May, but showed a 2.3% fall like-for-like for the 22 weeks to September 1. Booker posted a 2.7% increase in like-for-likes over the same period on the back of stronger tobacco sales. While the figures show things are beginning to stabilise, they are "not enormously inspiring" said one City analyst. "There is no material pick up in core trading and things could become difficult if there is a general slowdown." Conversely, Schroder Salomon Smith Barney analyst Dave McCarthy said he was "mildly encouraged" by the figures, which were in line with the broker's estimates. "There aren't any miracle cures, but Bill Grimsey has a great team and recovery should be slow and steady." He said Iceland would benefit from a more price-oriented public if the retail climate became tougher. Former Asda executives Brian Gaunt and Mike Coupe will start work at Iceland on November 5 as group logistics director and MD respectively. l See page 86 {{NEWS }}