Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Iceland Supermarkets

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Iceland is a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Iceland's primary product lines include frozen foods.

1970 Iceland began when Malcolm Walker opened the first store in Oswestry, Shropshire with his business partner Peter Hinchcliffe investing £60 for one month's rent at their Shropshire store. They were still employees of Woolworths at the time, and their employment was terminated once their employer discovered their job on the side. Iceland initially specialised in loose frozen food.

By 1975, there were 15+ Iceland outlets in North Wales, with the first supermarket-style outlet opening in Manchester a couple of years later.

1979 The firm's head office moved to Deeside, Flintshire

1984 Floated on the London Stock Exchange by which stage it had 81 outlets.

In 1989 Iceland bought its competitor Bejam which was some three times larger in terms of business.

By February 2004, the combined chain had 760 stores throughout the United Kingdom.

Iceland operates in the Republic of Ireland through a franchisee, AIM Group, which has announced plans to have 40 stores operating in Ireland by 2014. There are currently 9 stores in Ireland

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