ICELAND, the frozen food retailer seen as a high street struggler a year ago, reported a huge surge in sales yesterday, boosted by its national roll-out of home delivery. Same store sales rose 4.4 per cent last year and are 16 per cent ahead in current trading, though the company admitted that level was not sustainable. Iceland shares rose 10 per cent to 197.5p as analysts upgraded profit forecasts. This was in spite of a dip in profits from pounds 56m to pounds 43.5m. Iceland is now testing home shopping, which will enable customers to telephone orders in from home. Investment column, page 24
Matalan plans flotation
MATALAN, which operates a fast-growing chain of out-of-town clothing stores, yesterday announced plans to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange in a flotation that is expected to value it at about pounds 200m. The news came as the company announced record results for the year to 31 December, showing sales up 24 per cent to pounds 229.6m and an 87 per cent lift in pre- tax profit to pounds 12.7m.
FLEXTECH, the television programming group, yesterday unveiled plans to launch an interactive travel television channel which will allow viewers to order holidays while watching programmes about their destinations. Brett Harman, managing director, said the channel was likely to be one of many based around home shopping. Flextech also announced a net profit, before exceptionals, of pounds 1.9m for 1997, compared with a pounds 15.6m loss in the previous year.