Iceland to change its name to The Big Food Group

By Stephen Foley
Friday 30 November 2001 01:00

Iceland, the supermarkets group, is to change its corporate name in an attempt to distance itself from a string of profit warnings at its main frozen food chain. The company, which took over the Booker cash and carry business in 1999, will call itself The Big Food Group.

Bill Grimsey, Iceland's chief executive, said the change reflected the fact that, since the deal, the group contains more than just the 760 Iceland stores.

It also heralds a new strategy of experimentation, with new Iceland store formats, expanded product ranges, and greater variation between stores in different locations. The group may also reverse its rebranding as, less than a year after launching the new look.

The financial implications of the store refit programme will be set out in February, with Mr Grimsey refusing to rule out a rights issue. He said the name change had been thought up by a trading director, rather than expensive brand consultants.

A £5.7m exceptional charge paid to the management consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers was for help with the integration of Booker and the strategic review. Mr Grimsey said: "We want people to see us as an integrated food group rather than to look upon us immediately as just Iceland."

Interim profits at the group collapsed to £1.9m for the 24 weeks to 15 September, from £31.3m the year before, after its now-abandoned switch to an organic-only product range drove customers away.

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