The company uses different contractual arrangements for different types of purchases. Competitive tendering is used for new stores and refits, whereas serial contracts are used for such items as security and lifts.
The group has started to use online auctions, but mainly for equipment such as refrigeration units.
Current and future projects
The Big Food Group comprises 760 Iceland stores, 178 Booker Cash & Carry outlets, three picking depots and 10 Woodward Foodservice centres. In the six months to September 2002, the group invested £27.7m on refits and new stores.
Much of this investment was directed towards its Iceland operations, where it has identified four new store formats. Following trials of these formats at four stores, where like-for-like sales rose by an average of 15%, the company is planning to extend this concept to 32 outlets by March 2003. Assuming that this improvement is repeated, the goal is to roll out this programme to a further 100 stores in 2003/04.
As well as these refits, one new Iceland store was opened in the first half of 2002, with 10 new openings planned by March 2003. Looking further ahead, Iceland is planning to expand its portfolio of freezer centres by opening 80 new stores over the period to 2005/06.
A specialist delivery site has been opened in Wolverhampton to service the Bookers outlets, and the Woodward Foodservice business was expanded with a new distribution centre at Rhyl.
The Big Food Group is the renamed Iceland Group, and was formed in February 2002. It comprises Iceland Foods, Booker Cash & Carry, Woodward Food Service and a white goods logistics operation called Expert Logistics.
The company reported pre-tax losses in 2000/01 of £121m. It returned to profit in 2001/02, although this was only £12.8m on sales of £5.2bn. In 2002, the group undertook a refinancing programme that included the sale and lease-back of 31 properties, raising £123.5m, a subordinated 10-year high-yield bond for £150m and a bank facility for £300m expiring in March 2007. In October 2002, the Baugar Group bought a 14.99% holding in the company – in December 2002, Baugar was reported to be increasing this stake.
Group property director Tim Yates Contact details
Second Avenue, Deeside Industrial Park,
Deeside, Flintshire CH5 2NW
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The Big Food Group