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Iceland has a renewed focus on growing its business. In this report we explore the latest strategic priorities that will influence this and the outlook of future performance.

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We look at the latest developments from Iceland. This includes a preview of its Christmas results and the latest initiatives it is launching in plastic and wholesale. 

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Iceland continues its drive to be a responsible retailer through various initiatives such as rewarding shoppers for recycling, taking action on plastics and helping small businesses grow.  The latest initiative is a test of 'healthier' layouts with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with details of the study shared by the University of Southampton.

Improving diets in women and children

Iceland will be taking part in a three year study examining the impact product placement has on people's diets. The study has been designed to look at ways of improving the diets of women and children. 1,620 women aged between 18-45 that regularly shop at an Iceland store will be asked to take part.

Store layouts will be changed in some of the test stores to see if this has an impact on buying patterns. In trial stores the range of fresh fruit and vegetables will be increased and put at the front of the store.

Researchers will look for differences in food purchasing and eating patterns between the 'healthier' and old layout.

Some studies have already shown that such strategies may change shopper behaviour, but more studies are needed to come to any concrete conclusion. 

Matt Downes, Head of Format Development at Iceland has said;

"We know that childhood obesity is a growing issue and the retail industry has its part to play in tackling this. The outcomes of the study will provide insights for the wider retail industry around the impact of store merchandising on purchasing decisions, and in turn the diets of our customers."

Promoting eating vegetables

ShopperVista research has showed that 85% of shoppers are actively trying to improve their diets. Therefore there are many opportunities for retailers to support them. In the past we have seen initiatives such as the introduction of confectionary-free checkouts. Or more recently, the "Eat them to defeat them" campaign which has seen ITV, Veg Power and retailers such as Aldi, Asda and the Co-op join together to promote eating vegetables to children.

Source: ITV

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Iceland has announced plans to open three new stores in Norway, according to Nettavisen. This comes after its initial launch of two in May 2018.

Strong sales through winter

The Norwegian stores are operated by Ice Nordic, Iceland's franchise partner. The first two branches were launched in Oslo and Larvik. They are smaller than the average UK stores, but include a similar range of private label, fresh and locally sourced products. CEO of Ice Nordic Geir Olav Opheim has said the stores are close to reaching profitability, with strong sales in the later part of the year and Christmas.

Future expansion

The three new stores will all be in the Oslo area, bringing the total in the capital to four. The new stores will be larger than the existing ones in Norway and will have an increased range.

Expansion is expected to continue, but at a slow pace. Plans are for around five to seven stores in the short term. This will be focused in the Eastern part of the country initially with other areas being considered in the future. Despite expansion being slow Opheim is happy with progress. He believes it allows them more time to understand the market and test different concepts on a small scale.

Iceland have franchised in many markets opening stores at a similar pace. Iceland International has been operating for twenty years in Spain, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Portugal and has 16 stores. In the Channel Islands it has a total of eight stores that have been opened over the past 15 years.

More recently it has entered China in a partnership with The retailers online debut in China is with six categories snacks, beverages, baby, baking, skin care and personal care. 

In the UK Iceland also continues to expand with plans of opening c.35 new stores a year. It is also exploring the partnership model with general merchandise chain The Range, launching shop-in-shop concessions in its stores.

Click here to see Iceland's Strategic Outlook for 2018-2023 and learn more about its future plans.


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Iceland shoppers earn more than £30k in reward for returning plastic bottles as the retailer updates on the first phase of its bottle returns trial.

Five site trial to continue

The Times reports that more than 311,500 plastic bottles have been returned to Iceland's deposit machines within the six month period. Referred to as reverse vending machines, these issue 10p vouchers to shoppers in return for plastic bottles. 

Last year Iceland introduced the machines in four store locations and its head office, and plans to extend the trial for another six months.

Iceland's actions on plastic in 2018

January - pledge to remove single-use plastic from its own label ranges by 2023 (read more here)

February - first private label frozen ready meals in paper-based trays launched in-store

May - introduction of reverse vending machines in its Fulham store

May - inclusion of plastic-free logo on product packaging

June - roll-out of reverse vending machines to three more stores

September - plastic packaging on bananas replaced with a paper band

October - removal of single-use plastic carrier bags from stores, following three month trial

December - removal of plastic till rolls from all stores by year end


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"Doing good is good business" is one of IGD's five global trends for 2019: read our latest report here

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An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Iceland.

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