Wednesday 13 December 2017

Iceland planning 2,175 jobs in bid to capitalise on downturn

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

THEY shut up shop during the boom, but now we're all broke Iceland supermarkets are returning, with the aim of becoming a major player in the Irish grocery market.

The retailer has hooked up with Irish wholesaler AIM Group and has plans to create 2,175 jobs with the rollout of 40 Iceland stores and 65 other bargain outlets over the next four years.

Hundreds of shoppers queued at Dublin's Ilac centre yesterday to be first in the door when Iceland opened a new shop, its fourth in the Republic since its return.

Outlets in Finglas, Ballyfermot and on the Navan Road -- all in the capital -- have also opened in recent months.

Iceland shut its seven Irish stores five years ago, citing a huge downturn in demand for its mix of frozen food and low-price branded goods. But UK buying director Nigel Broadhurst said the time was right to return.

"The main problem we had five years ago was a poor focus and performance in the British operation, but these problems have been corrected," he said.

The AIM Group, an independent wholesaler based in Clondalkin, has taken the master franchise for Iceland in Ireland and said it plans to invest €25m in expanding its network of stores.

Chief executive Tom Keogh said it had secured a number of sites and, despite the current economic climate, was convinced it has a strong offering.

As well as the new Iceland stores, it also plans to open 15 Home Savers stores -- the first of which also opened in the Ilac Centre yesterday, offering a range of homeware goods.

Meanwhile, retail giant Tesco will create 310 jobs next week when it opens three new stores.

The company is in expansion mode and will create 110 jobs each in Oranmore, Co Galway and Ballybeg, Co Waterford while another shop will be opened in Swinford, Co Mayo leading to 90 positions.

Tesco has already hired 430 new staff so far this year. Last week it opened a Tesco Extra shop in Naas, Co Kildare, which led to 266 jobs, while other new stores have also opened in Dublin and Wicklow.

Irish Independent

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