UK frozen food specialist Iceland in financial distress

Summary analysis in this linked in post

Iceland’s credit insurers are cutting cover. Iceland is unusual because a lot of the food is frozen bought in bulk with a long lead time (e.g. made in Thailand shipped in frozen container to the UK), which makes Iceland more vulnerable to a credit insurer cut as more of their working capital is tied up in goods in transit rather than fast turning perishable goods. (Iceland’s main competitor is similar retailer Farmfoods, rather than the frozen & cook chill ready meals aisles at other supermarkets)

Iceland offers its customers slotted delivery to home from nearest store (and a shop in store bring to home service for bulk buyers), Since their offer mainly features frozen foods (with some chill and ambient as top-up) is isn’t the biggest or most popular egrocery offer in the UK. (Free Next day over £40 which is a low threshold; Min order £25, fee £6 for same day or £25-£39.99 order size, unsure of thresholds or fees for the “bring to home” service).

Hard to make any profit on that size of delivery, but their customer base would not generally have freezer space for an order much larger than £40 in one delivery.

I wasn’t that familiar with Iceland.
This is definitely more standard recession behavior – suppliers demanding payments up front rather than on the float, etc.

Frozen food sounds like a tough business model to me.

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Given that basic frozen foods are a value play (low food waste for the customer, easy prep) and with targeting of lower demographics, Iceland (and similar) they should be recession proof (as long as the customer has a big enough freezer and can afford to run it at current UK energy costs). But the credit risk insurers think otherwise.

Iceland does have fancier lines available with larger value add and reasonable quality (which is where they make their money).