Iceland hits £60m profit after lockdown sales boost

Iceland profits have increased thirtyfold as its coronavirus costs were almost completely offset by government support.

The frozen food retailer made a £60.2 million profit in the 12 months to March 2021, up from £2 million the previous year.

Turnover soared by 16.4 per cent to £3.7 billion as pub, restaurants and café closures forced people to eat at home.

Although the supermarket had “substantial” Covid-19 expenses, exceptional costs came to just £3.3 million after it was handed £46.7 million in business rates relief by the government.

READ MORE: Iceland responds to ‘pingdemic’ with recruitment drive

Iceland’s EBITDA, which excludes exceptional costs, was up by a third to £171.9 million.

Cash balances stood at £124.3 million, roughly £12 million below expectations following the loss of a supply chain finance facility provided by Greensill Capital.

The firm, owned by disgraced financier Lex Greensill, collapsed earlier this year.

The retailer closed eight Iceland stores but opened three, along with launching 20 Food Warehouse sites for bulk-buying customers.

It grew its vehicle fleet by 20 per cent to handle a million deliveries per week, taking advantage of the Covid-fuelled e-commerce boom.

The news comes after Iceland managing director Richard Walker was accused of unsettling shoppers by publicly admitting to closing stores after staff shortages.

“If people start panic-buying, what are we going to do?” a source complained to The Grocer.

“It’s the role of supermarkets to be careful about spooking people.”

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