Food warehouse

Source: Iceland Foods

The format has become the main focus of Iceland’s store growth plans

Iceland Foods aims to double the number of its Food Warehouse stores, as part of a renewed nationwide expansion plan.

The retailer is on the hunt for up to 250 new store sites and is working with its long-term property advisor Mason Partners LLP, which is leading the search for new locations. If those numbers are reached it would more than double the current footprint of Food Warehouse stores, which currently number just over 200.

Iceland is targeting sites with a minimum footprint of 10,000 sq ft, located on retail parks in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Crawley, Brighton, Salisbury and Dundee are among the locations specifically named by Iceland. It’s also targeting locations in suburban areas of London, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle.

“Iceland has plans to expand the footprint of The Food Warehouse across the UK over the next few years,” a spokeswoman for Iceland Foods, told The Grocer.  “Stores are scheduled to open in Shrewsbury, Bicester, Selby, Yeovil, Llantrisant and Wakefield across 2025.”

The Grocer understands from a senior source that the retailer has been buoyed by strong sales, with the latest drive forming the latest part of what is an ongoing, long-term expansion strategy.

According to Kantar’s latest grocery market share update for June, Iceland achieved its first annual market share growth since March 2023, which grew from 2.3% to 2.4% in the 12 weeks to 9 June. Sales were up 4.4% for the period.

In what it described at the time as an “experiment”, Iceland launched its first Food Warehouse store in 2014. In contrast to Iceland supermarkets, the larger format is typically located in out-of-town locations, aimed at “car-borne shoppers”. They’re fitted with wider aisles akin to a wholesaler, and a wide array of bulk packs of Iceland’s groceries. 

Iceland’s executive chairman Richard Walker told The Grocer in 2021 the format had become the main focus of Iceland’s physical growth, as its stores are typically more efficient to run and achieve higher like-for-like sales compared to Iceland stores.

In June 2023, Iceland began to close its company-run convenience stores in favour of dual-branded wholesale supply tie-ups with a number of local convenience chains, including Greens Retail and SGN retail, under the Iceland Local fascia.

It’s also been extending its concessions partnership with CDS superstores to sell Iceland groceries in The Range stores, as well expanding its online offer, including through a strategic partnership with Amazon launched in September 2023.”