Source: Iceland

The first swift store is located on a busy parade near a Metro station.

Iceland is set to roll out its Swift convenience store format, and has earmarked London as the next location.

Launched as a single-store pilot in Newcastle last spring, the convenience format is now set to extend to four more stores in London over the next few months.

Swift carries a full grocery range spanning ambient, chilled, fresh and frozen products, but with more focus on food for now or later today than an Iceland supermarket, along with alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco.

The format gives the business an option for converting stores from its core Iceland supermarket estate, which is no longer a focus in its expansion plans, having taken a backseat to The Food Warehouse.

The existing Swift store is a 1,700 sq ft former Iceland in a busy parade near Longbenton Metro station.

Read more: Swift: what is it like inside Iceland’s new convenience store?

Following its opening last spring, location data specialists CACI analysed the rest of Iceland’s core estate for close matches in terms of footfall and shopper types, and found 235 sites highly suited to the convenience format.

Latest accounts at Companies House revealed Iceland’s core supermarket estate shrunk by five in the year to 26 March 2021 – including the Swift conversion – to leave the number at about 850.

Speaking to The Grocer in October, Iceland MD Richard Walker said The Food Warehouse’s “standardised” stores in retail parks were outperforming core Iceland stores, of which “each and every one is completely different because they’re all in old high street units”. As a result, The Food Warehouse had become the focus for growth ambitions, with plans for up to 30 new stores a year, he said.

Iceland did not provide further details on the London plans for Swift, revealed in an interview with Walker in The Guardian at the weekend.