Frozen food retailer Iceland continues to be a headache for the Big Food Group as like-for-like sales at the high street chain fell 7.7% in the 13 weeks to September 27.

The figures are an improvement on the first three weeks of the second quarter when like-for-likes fell 8.3% and prompted BFG to issue a warning that full-year profits could be down £16m.

Chief executive Bill Grimsey noted that he was pleased that margins at Iceland had been “quickly restored” - after a period of deep price promotion - and that initiatives have been developed to improve sales “are being implemented in store”.

Grimsey added: “The implementation of the strategic initiatives within the group is making good progress.”

The group said like-for-like sales at Iceland’s first four new format stores were up 14.7% and that the conversion programme would continue. During the period four refitted and two new concept stores opened, bringing the total to 10.

There was better news from the group’s Booker cash and carry and Woodward foodservice businesses which account for 70% of BFG turnover. Booker’s total like-for-likes rose 0.9%, up 3.2% excluding tobacco sales which fell 1.9%. While Woodward sales increased 13.5%.

Booker said it has launched two new initiatives to the delivered wholesale sector. First, the ‘Delivery Hub’ a specialised site for enhanced service. And also the ‘Drop Shipment programme’, which involves daily direct delivery of products such as milk and bread, to its core c-store and corner shop market.