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Iceland heralds Middle Eastern expansion push after Libya store success Friday, 10th May 2013
Image courtesy of Iceland
Frozen food retailer Iceland is set to kick off a radical international expansion push in the Middle East after its store in war-torn Tripoli mustered a group of loyal Libyan customers.
The grocer opened a store in the Libyan capital earlier this year - a move which garnered significant consumer interest. The Iceland Libya Facebook page has already gained 45,000 ‘likes’, despite the fact there is only one store in the region.
According to Retail Week, the business is planning to export Iceland-branded products to other retailers across the Middle East.
Boss Malcolm Walker told the industry newspaper that he was “amazed” by the grocer’s popularity in Libya, adding that the region presents a “big opportunity” for Iceland’s export business.
Tesco maintains market share while Morrisons lags behind Tuesday, 29th January 2013
Photo credit: Tesco plc
Tension between the UK’s four biggest supermarkets shows little sign of letting up as industry figures suggest Tesco is back on fighting form.
The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel found Tesco maintained its market share of 30.4 per cent in the 12 weeks to 20 January.
The past few quarters have seen Tesco struggle against strong gains made by Sainsbury’s and Asda for market share. However it seems the UK’s largest supermarket may be on the mend after managing to match its market growth for the first time since June 2011.
Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “These positive results are a sign of stabilisation for Tesco as the retailer gets back on track with its customers. However, this improvement has put some pressure on the rest of the big four with Morrisons in particular suffering a drop in sales and a share decline of 0.6 percentage points in the latest period.”
As the second largest supermarket in the UK, Asda managed a 2.1 per cent growth while Sainsbury’s, in third position, saw a 3.2 per cent increase. Morrisons once again suffered a loss with a sales fall of 1.7 per cent according to Kantar.
Yet again it was the retailers at either end of the market that reported the strongest gains, with premium grocer Waitrose increasing its market share by 8 per cent year-on-year. Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl managed to growth their share by 28.2 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, while Iceland maintained its record 2.2 per cent share reported in the previous quarter.
Minister warns horsemeat scandal could see prosecutions Thursday, 17th January 2013
Photo credit: Tesco plc
The discovery of horsemeat in a number of supermarket’s beef products could lead to criminal prosecutions, according to environment minister David Heath.
As Tesco places full-page adverts in national newspapers to apologise for selling beef burgers that are thought to have contained up to 29 per cent horsemeat, Heath warned that the “serious” discovery could lead to criminal proceedings.
According to the Independent, Heath responded to an urgent question from Labour’s shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh by stating:
"It is very important neither you, nor anyone else, talks down the British food industry at a time when the standards in that industry are of a very high level.
"Because something has been discovered in Ireland, which is serious, which may lead to criminal proceedings, does not undermine the very serious efforts which are taken by retailers, by processors and by producers in this country to ensure traceability and ensure standards of food that are available to consumers."
Supermarket chains Tesco, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl have withdrawn numerous beef products from their shelves in the UK and Ireland after an investigation by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) discovered that they had been contaminated with the meat of horses and pigs. Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Asda have since withdrawn some of their frozen meat products “as a precaution”.
Iceland Foods reports 5% jump in Christmas sales Wednesday, 9th January 2013
Photo credit: Iceland Foods
Frozen food specialist Iceland has reported a 5 per cent rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas, as consumers continued to chose value-focused supermarkets to complete their shopping lists.
An Iceland spokesperson speaking to the BBC said total sales during November and December grew by 5 per cent, with strong demand for the grocer’s roast-from-frozen seasonal joints and seasonal desserts.
"We are grateful to all our 23,000 colleagues in Iceland's 779 UK stores for their hard work to deliver outstanding customer service and another successful Christmas for the business." Iceland said on Wednesday.
The news comes after industry data from Kantar Worldpanel said Iceland has achieved its largest share of the UK grocery market in 12 years, growing 9.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to 23 December.
Christmas trolley dash: Sainsbury’s makes gains but it’s Iceland that reaches record growth Tuesday, 8th January 2013
Photo credit: Sainsbury's plc
Sainsbury’s was the only retailer amongst the UK’s four largest supermarkets to increase its market share during the run up to Christmas, although growth at either end of the market bought signs of encouragement for 2013.
The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel UK on Tuesday found Sainsbury’s sales grew 3.4 per cent in the 12 weeks to 23 December, boosting its market share by 0.1 percentage points to 17.1 per cent.
Overall the grocery market grew 3.2 per cent, the same as the last period, with Kantar noting strong growth at each end of the sector for both discounters and premium retailers.
“Among the big four supermarkets Sainsbury’s is, once again, the only retailer to increase its share compared with last year. Tesco’s share has dipped slightly, from 30.6% to 30.5%, however this is an improvement on the performance seen throughout 2012, when the average share drop was 0.4%, suggesting that festive shoppers gave the retailer a welcome boost in the run up to Christmas,” said Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner.
A continuation of the ‘two nations’ trend at the extreme ends of the market saw Waitrose achieve a 5.4 per cent growth in the run up to Christmas, while Aldi and Lidl managed growth rates of 30.1 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively. Iceland Foods’ performance was the highlight of the results, growing 9.7 per cent to a 2.2 per cent share of the market, its highest in 12 years.
Garner added: “Historically, the discounter sector has seen its share dip at Christmas as shoppers treat themselves and trade up, but the all-time record share of 3.2% for Aldi is a sign of the times and shows that this is no longer the case. Aldi and Lidl both benefitted from carrying items such as goose, venison and fine wines in their pre-Christmas catalogues this year. It seems that offering premium products at budget prices has paid off for the discount retailers.
“The polarisation of the market is highlighted by consumer spend levels which were widely anticipated to drop this year. While 47% of shoppers did reduce their spend in the lead up to Christmas, 48% of shoppers increased their spend by 4.5% (the rate of inflation) showing that ‘two nations’ continues to be a key feature of the grocery market.”
Iceland unfazed by sales slowdown Friday, 12th October 2012
Frozen food specialist Iceland came out on fighting form this week, reiterating its commitment to sales growth in the long term, despite a forecast fall in annual earnings.
As rival retailers increase their focus on value and price matches, Iceland has seen increased competition from discount grocers keen to tap into its round-pound pricing and money—off coupon strategies.
According to Retail Week, like-for-like sales at Iceland fell 0.2 per cent in the six months to the end of September.
During the 53 weeks to the end of March like-for-likes rose 6 per cent, but the grocer’s full-year target now lies flat for like-for-like comparisons, beneath a previously forecast 3 per cent rise. Retail Week reported that EBITDA is now likely to fall from £230.2 million in 2011 to between £215 million and £220 million in 2012/2013.
Speaking at a staff and investor conference in Dublin earlier this week, Retail Week reported Iceland chief financial officer Tarsem Dhaliwal told store managers:
“We have been riding a rocket ship. Every year we have increased our profits without fail.
“We had our arse kicked by the other food retailers [in the past six months]. They stole our customers’ food spend. We cannot take the credit and then hide in the shadows when things go wrong...Iceland is still a highly profitable and highly cash-generative business.” Dhaliwal added.
Sainsbury’s delivers big four’s ‘stand out performance’ Tuesday, 9th October 2012
Photo credit: Sainsbury's
Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda managed to increase their hold on the grocery sector during the summer months, while Tesco and Morrisons fell behind.
Latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel saw Sainsbury’s increase its market share by 5.6 per cent in the 12 weeks to 30 September, boosting its share from 16.2 per cent a year before to 16.5 per cent.
“Among the big four supermarkets, the stand out performance is from Sainsbury’s.” Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said, adding:
“Its sponsorship of the Paralympic games has clearly borne fruit, boosting its sales in this period. The retailer has also been bolstered by its Brand Match promotion and the ongoing re-launch of its own-label range – both of which are proving popular with consumers.”
With positions in the big four supermarket so closely fought, gains by Sainsbury’s and Asda pile on the pressure for Tesco and Morrisons.
Garner said: “The growth of the discounters and Iceland continue to be a strong feature of the market. In particular, Aldi has been delivering growth in excess of 20% per year since mid-2011 – clear evidence that value for money allied to a growing emphasis on product quality is encouraging shoppers to increase their loyalty to the outlet.”
Outside of the top four grocers, Waitrose managed to make significant headway as the UK’s sixth largest supermarket.
“It has been a record-breaking period for Waitrose, posting its highest-ever share of 4.7% and building on the strong performance we have seen over the past decade.” Garner told press on Tuesday.
Despite unfavourable conditions on the high street and UK economy, the grocery market grew by 3.9 per cent, well above Kantar Worldpanel’s inflation measure of 2.6 per cent. However, Kantar also noted that a poor grain harvest in the USA, Russia and Ukraine had resulted in “stubbornly high” world food prices, which could prove to be a problem for the sector in the next quarter.
Iceland appoints international business director Monday, 3rd September 2012
Iceland is stepping up its international expansion strategy with the appointment of its first international business director.
Paul Foley has previously spearheaded the establishment of Aldi in the United Kingdom. In his new role, Foley will be responsible for the ITEX export business and new ventures in the Czech Republic.
Foley also ran Iceland’s South-east England business 23 years ago.
Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker told the Independent: “I was very sorry to lose Paul in 1989. It has not been easy to persuade him to come back and work for us, and I am absolutely delighted that he has agreed to do so. His exceptional track record and skill set make him the ideal person to lead Iceland's development outside the UK, whether that be through exports, franchising, acquisitions or store openings. The global potential of the Iceland brand is huge.”
Iceland Foods CEO: “I'm never going to retire.” Monday, 13th August 2012
Iceland employees model their uniforms. Photo credit: Iceland Foods
Iceland Foods’ founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker spoke to Iceland’s Klinkið about setting up a business from scratch, and what sets Iceland Foods apart from its rivals on the British high street.
“We’re not a freezer centre, we’re not a frozen food retailer. Everybody thinks we are, but it’s only a third of our sales. But it’s the reason people come to us, and we never lose sight of that.” Walker told Klinkið on Sunday, during his current trip to Iceland.
“It’s evolution and it’s changed over the years. It’s about being hands on and changing as the market changes. We’ve never had a plan. Whenever we’re raising funds or doing anything with the banks and you’ve got to give your five year plan- it changes every Monday morning depending on last week’s sales.”
During the interview with Thorbjorn Thordarson, Walker discussed everything from the importance of staff morale and expansion plans into Eastern Europe to his departure and following re-instatement at the helm of the company back in 2005. Speaking of his years away from Iceland, Walker said:
“Going forward, what would I do if I retired? I tried that once and I didn’t like it. So I’m never going to retire.”
Big Four frozen out as shoppers choose Aldi, Lidl and Iceland Tuesday, 17th July 2012
Savvy shoppers are increasingly favouring discounters and frozen food grocers as value-driven supermarkets continue to strengthen their market share.
The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show the grocery market growth rate fell 2.1 per cent compared with figures from a year before, with inflation now at 3.8 per cent. However, retailers at either end of the consumer price range continued to benefit from the recession, with Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Waitrose seeing a surge in market share and sales.
Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “We are seeing big cutbacks by consumers as they continue to respond to this current period of austerity. The success of the discounters, Aldi and Lidl, is a clear example of shoppers watching their purses, with both retailers continuing to surge ahead.
“Once again, they both achieve all-time record shares of 2.9 per cent and remarkable growth of 26.1 per cent for Aldi and 11.5 per cent for Lidl. Similarly, although Waitrose is still growing at over double the rate of the whole market, this growth has fallen back to 4.8 per cent from 7.5 per cent last period − suggesting there are signs that the premium sector is beginning to slow.”
Sales for the 12 weeks ending 8 July saw Asda and Sainsbury’s gain market share from Tesco and Morrisons, with a drop in premium own label purchases as shoppers favour economy own labels.
Edward Garner adds: “Frozen food continues to be the top-growing food sector, as consumers look to reduce waste, and this has helped Iceland to continue the upward trend it has enjoyed since 2005.”