Iceland will accelerate the roll-out of its refurbishment programme in a bid to combat disappointing sales in the first quarter of 2004.
The refitted stores, which now number 142 out of Iceland’s 750-strong estate, are achieving double-digit like-for-like sales growth, said Big Food Group chief executive Bill Grimsey. The refit programme will now be accelerated from three to six refits per week.
“These results are good,” said Grimsey. “All in all, in a tough environment, we’re doing well.”
However, sales at its other stores had suffered from stiff price competition.
In its fourth quarter trading statement, Big Food Group unveiled like-for-like sales at Iceland up 0.7% for the year to April 2, but down 0.2% for the last quarter. “The Iceland stores that have not yet been refitted are suffering the most,” said Grimsey.
Seymour Pierce analyst Rhys Williams estimated sales at these stores were down about 2% over the last quarter.
Meanwhile, Big Food Group has maintained its interest in acquiring Londis. Grimsey said Londis would fit well with its strategy to expand into convenience retailing while its delivered network would fit with Booker’s plan to expand further in this area. Another one or two hubs will be opened in the new financial year to support its hub in the West Midlands in order to grow the delivered wholesale business.
Like-for-like sales at Booker were up 1.2% for the year and the last quarter.