Iceland profits climb to pounds 24m

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ICELAND, the frozen-food retailer, offered more evidence of recovery yesterday when it announced healthy sales gains boosted by its home delivery scheme and disclosed plans to extend the trial of its convenience store format.

Announcing a 32 per cent jump in half-year pre-tax profits to pounds 23.6m, Malcolm Walker, Iceland's chairman and chief executive, said the home- delivery initiative had contributed to a 14 per cent increase in like- for-like food sales in Iceland's stores during the first half.

Current trading is also strong, with same-store sales 10 per cent ahead of the same period last year.

Iceland's trial of six Iceland Extra stores, which operate a convenience store concept with an extended product range, has worked well. Sales in the converted stores were 40 per cent ahead on a comparable basis, although so far the extra sales have had only minimal impact on the bottom line.

Iceland's home shopping service, where customers order from home, will be available nationwide by the end of October.

Board changes announced yesterday see Russell Ford promoted to trading director. He and Andrew Pritchard, the finance director, will become joint managing directors of Iceland Foods.