Locations for Iceland stores pinpointed as 1,000 jobs in pipeline
The Dublin-based AIM retail group is understood to have identified locations in towns and cities including Clonmel, Athlone, Cork, Waterford and Carlow for the initial phases of its expansion of the Iceland discount food brand in Ireland.
AIM, which was founded by India-born businessman Naeem Maniar, said last year that it expected to spend between €35m and €50m opening 40 Iceland outlets here by 2014.
The group owns the master franchise in Ireland for the UK retail business. It secured the rights to the brand in 2008 after Iceland exited the Irish market in 2005 as it attempted to refocus the chain's offering.
By late 2010 AIM had four Iceland outlets in Ireland -- all of them in Dublin. The 40 Iceland stores AIM intends opening are expected to create over 1,000 jobs.
AIM chief executive Tom Keogh said earlier this year that it was possible the 40 stores could be open in four years.
Among the other locations that have been earmarked for outlets are Ashbourne, Co Meath; Carlow, and Coolock in Dublin.
AIM has been seeking sites beside existing multiples or convenience stores in order to capitalise on the Iceland model, which isn't perceived as a direct competitor of larger operators.
A spokesman for Iceland said plans for a number of locations are advanced but not confirmed.
AIM was established over 20 years ago by Mr Maniar and also operates stores under the Homeware brand that sell furnishings and electrical goods. It also owns a chain of discount €2 shops. The group is also planning an ambitious expansion of those two brands.
The AIM group has received financial backing from Bank of Baroda, India's third biggest lender, as well as Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.