Although industry insiders have speculated that no more than 50 Woolworths stores could be converted to the Iceland fascia, an analysis of the demographics of Woolworths’ 815 stores and Iceland’s 660 stores across the UK found more than 400 Woolworths stores with no Iceland outlets located within one mile of them. CACI suggested that Walker could use the deal to open the first Iceland stores in towns including Bolton, Dudley, Dumbarton, Grantham, Halifax, Ilkeston, Pontypool, Stockport, Stratford and Wakefield.
Other areas with new opportunities include the south coast of England and Scotland. Meanwhile, Icelandic retail predator Baugur could use the approach to expand the number of stores for its other retail interests, according to analysts.
Walker’s bid is backed by a Baugur-led consortium, which also owns high-street retailers including House of Fraser, Hamleys, Oasis, Warehouse, Jane Norman and Principles.