Iceland is opening four more stores in Iceland, The Grocer can reveal.

It will also take a 37% stake in Ísland-Verslun, which opened the first Iceland franchise in the country in July 2012, to fund the expansion. Iceland Foods’ international business director Paul Foley will also join the Ísland-Verslun board.

“We were delighted by the success of the first Iceland store in Reykjavik with the Icelandic public, and are pleased to make this investment to support a further roll-out of the franchise to at least four stores,” said Iceland Foods chairman & CEO Malcolm Walker.

“There could be no more natural fit than that between Iceland the company and Iceland the country, and my own long-standing friendship with Jóhannes Jónsson underpins our confidence in the future prospects for Ísland-Verslun.”

The remaining 63% of Ísland-Verslun will continue to be held by Jóhannes Jónsson, who founded the company.

Meanwhile Walker has just departed for the South Pole, where he is aiming to complete the “Polar double” for charity, after trekking to the North Pole in 2010. Walker is raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded, although he predicts the trip will be “19 days of what I know will be utter misery, given that my natural habitat is a centrally heated five star hotel suite rather than a shared tent at minus 40°C.”