Iceland store

Source: Iceland Foods

Stores in Bromsgrove and Basingstoke will be the first to close this week

Iceland Foods is permanently shutting six UK stores, with the first to close from Saturday.

Two stores, in Mill Lane Bromsgrove and Chineham Shopping Centre in Basingstoke, will close on 25 February. 

These will be followed by its White Rose Centre store in Rhyl on 14 March, South Street store in Newport, Isle of Wight and St Catherine’s Place store in Bedminster, Bristol on 25 March. The final store located in the Deiniol Centre in Bangor, Wales will close 27 March.

A spokesperson told The Sun the business continually reviewed its store portfolio to ensure it was delivering the best experience for customers. The newspaper first reported the full list of closures, but some individual store closures were reported by local press over the past few weeks. 

The frozen food group has more than 500 Iceland branches and 153 Food Warehouse stores. The business has not said whether affected staff will lose their jobs.

The Grocer has approached Iceland for comment.

The closures comes a week after the family-owned retailer sold all 27 of its stores in the Republic of Ireland to Project Point Technologies. Naeem Maniar, a director at Project Point, was previously the franchise owner before Iceland took direct control of the stores 10 years ago.

Ron Metcalfe, then MD of Iceland’s Ireland business, told The Grocer in 2015 the supermarket was aiming to grow its footprint in the country to as many as 70 stores,

The business has scaled back its expansion plans as a result of soaring energy costs over the last year. In September, executive chairman Richard Walker told The Mail On Sunday the doubling of its latest energy bill had left the business “fighting to keep the lights on”.

“In some instances, it might just be easier to mothball shops or temporarily close them because the energy costs are just completely unsustainable,” Walker said, warning of potential store closures.

Iceland has been working to minimise its energy costs through the installation of more efficient freezers and adding solar panels to stores. Credit rating agency Moody’s expects these efforts could help it shave £25m off its energy bill by 2024.

The retailer has also signed long-term deals to secure around 40% of its energy needs at a 25% discount for the remainder of 2023, Moody’s said.

Those efforts, combined with the fact energy costs have been falling, led to better than expected performance guidance following the company’s third quarter results in February, improving Iceland’s chances of refinancing its £750m net debt, Moody’s said.

There were concerns Iceland could face difficulty refinancing for the debts, after three insurance credit providers pulled cover for firms supplying the supermarket over the last few months.

Iceland maintained the business was “incredibly well positioned” and that only a small number of providers were affected.