Iceland roll-out to create 2,000 jobs

Iceland roll-out to create 2,000 jobs

Supermarket Iceland has revealed plans to open 25 new stores this year, creating 2,000 jobs.

The company's chief executive Malcolm Walker said that although the grocery sector was going through a "very tough" period, Iceland would continue to expand.

"We're planning to open 25 of our new Food Warehouse format stores this year, and this will create 2,000 new jobs," he said.

The supermarket's Food Warehouse stores combine a cash-and-carry format and the traditional Iceland style. The first two will open at Trafford Retail Park in Manchester and Avon Meads Retail Park in Bristol on Tuesday 26 April.

Iceland's property team is hunting for other suitable locations across the country.

The decision comes amid a period of unrest in the supermarket sector, with Britain's so-called Big Four - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - losing ground to German duo Aldi and Lidl.

In addition, a price war and food price deflation has eroded profit margins.

Iceland has not been immune from the turmoil and has moved to launch the new store format and revamped its product ranges.

Last year the company's like-for-like sales fell 4.4% while earnings plummeted from £200m to £150m.

Walker said that the changes were beginning to "have an impact" but refused to be drawn on what Iceland's numbers would look like when it reports for the full year in June.

With the additional 25 stores, Iceland will have over 900 stores worldwide.