Iceland announces record profits

Frozen foods retailer Iceland today reported record sales and profits - heaping pressure on potential buyers to pay more for the company.

Iceland, which owns 796 stores, said underlying profits rose 14.8% to £155.5 million in the year to March 2011, with like-for-like sales growth of 2.1%.



The company, which also owns the Cooltrader discount food chain, said sales increased 5.9% to £2.4 billion, helped by opening 20 new stores.



The strong figures will drive up the price that potential bidders are considering paying for the company, with supermarket rivals Asda and Morrisons reported to be thinking about a bid.



The company was effectively put up for sale after collapsed Icelandic bank Landsbanki said it will offload its 67% stake this year.



However, founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker, who along with other members of the senior management team owns a 23% stake in the company, is also understood to be considering a bid.













If Mr Walker regains ownership of the company he founded in Oswestry, Shropshire, in 1970, it would be a remarkable comeback.

He lost his job at the company in 2001 but was brought back in 2005 to revive its fortunes and sales have grown every year since.



While Mr Walker is interested in buying back the company, it is understood to be attracting interest from other supermarkets who are keen to grow their share of the small supermarket sector and could fetch bids of £1.5 billion.



Iceland has boomed since the economic downturn as sales of frozen food grew because consumers consider it to be good value for money.



Iceland also credits its strong performance to its policy of selling its products at rounded-up prices such as £1 or £2, which makes it easy for customers to calculate their shopping bill.



Like-for-like sales slowed from 4.3% the previous year as a result of a slowdown in the final quarter of 2010, but have picked up again since, added Mr Walker.



He said: "Sales slowed a little between autumn and Christmas - I don't know why - but have been strong since. This is our sixth year of sales growth but we can't always beat the market."



The company plans to open a further 15 stores over the next year.



Iceland recently signed up the winner of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!, Stacey Solomon, to front a new TV advertising campaign.



The previous face of Iceland, Kerry Katona, was dropped following allegations about her private life.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week