Iceland supermarkets ready to expand after debut store success

in News · 25-10-2012 10:01:00 · 5 Comments
Iceland supermarkets ready to expand after debut store success

Iceland – Overseas Supermarkets will be celebrating the first anniversary of their flagship store in Portugal, at the Guia retail park on 9 November, with the company looking at opportunities to expand their store numbers across Iberia next year.

Guia store manager, Ian Walker, who started his career with Overseas Supermarkets six years ago at their first Spanish mainland store, on the Costa del Sol, spoke highly of the company’s first year in Portugal.
“Our store in Guia got off to a roaring start and then found its level. It will take time to build the store up properly for the British market as well as Portuguese and customers of other nationalities,” he said.
Despite British expats and tourists being the main shoppers at the store, more and more Portuguese customers are venturing in to see what is available.
“British people sort of know what to expect when they come in, but we are attracting more Portuguese people all the time. Their main purchases include frozen pizzas, chocolate and Indian takeaway meals, I think they treat the store as somewhere to go for something special, a bit of a treat.”
Overall, the store’s best selling products are smoked haddock in the frozen line, baked beans in the grocery section and British milk in the chilled section.
“It is our first year and we are still learning and working alongside our customers,” said Mr. Walker, adding that the supermarket has a request book for customers to add their suggestions for new products.
Speaking about the Overseas Supermarket concept, he said that despite trading under the Iceland name, their stores are very different to what a customer would find in an Iceland supermarket in the UK.
“Aside from the Iceland frozen food range, we also have an additional grocery range, Waitrose products and a fresh butcher,” he said.
According to Mr. Walker, the concept has proved so successful that “people looking to open franchises in Poland and other countries come to look at our operation.”

With the opening of their first store in Portugal, he admitted that the company has had to overcome hurdles such as the higher taxes on a number of products compared to Spain.
“Products in Portugal come under different tax brackets and we must be very careful when introducing a new item to the shelves that the price includes the correct tax for this country,” he said, explaining that this is one of the reasons why Iceland products marked with the big pound sterling prices have to be sold for a price in Euros that doesn’t necessarily correspond to the current tourist exchange rate.
Other factors the company has to take into account are the growing transport costs “with the cost of fuel increasing all the time” and the fact that the company buys stock at business exchange rates, which are fixed for a period of time.
During the 15 years since Overseas Supermarkets first started trading on the Canary Islands, they have introduced a number of new things to their stores to improve service and quality for their customers.
“Something we have introduced is offers, as the company has grown, we are now big enough to buy products at special prices for limited periods and so we pass these savings on to our customers,” he said.
Offers change around every three weeks, so there is always something new.
A bonus card scheme for shoppers, which has been put into practise in Iceland – Overseas Supermarkets stores across Spain, is also planned for Portugal, but the company are currently working on the IT system to have this up and running as soon as possible.
Looking to the future, the company is hoping to expand the number of stores across Iberia.
“Two new stores are planned for Spain next year, but we are also looking at sites in Portugal, including Lisbon for possible openings in the next couple of years.”
Customers are welcome to suggest sites for possible new stores through the company’s website (, which offers incentives and rewards if a suggested site is actually developed into a store.
“These decisions do take time however,” said Mr. Walker, adding: “It took four years to open Iceland in Portugal, to find the right site at the right price and size.”
For the next eight weeks, the Guia store will be focusing on its busiest time of year, the run up to Christmas.
The store already has a number of products on its shelves such as chocolate and biscuit selection boxes, mince pies and crackers, for example, and the butcher is already taking orders for fresh turkeys and other meats.
“The deadline for suppliers is early December, so customers wanting to reserve a fresh turkey or something a bit different should come in store now,” he said.
Throughout December, the supermarket will have extended opening times from 8am until 11pm, being open from as early as 7am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The store will be closed on 25 December and 1 January for the holidays, as well as on 30 December for their annual stock take.


Hi we live in seixal south of Lisbon, we travel to your store , which is a 6 hour round trip, it would be so good to open a store up here, have you looked at sights ,south of Lisbon. as we have lower prices for land ,ect we are surrounded by lidl and aldi , do not let them have all the British customers living in this part of Portugal .

by myra langham from Lisbon on 18-12-2017 01:36:00

Does the new store in Portimao have a website?

by John Dixon from Algarve on 20-06-2017 09:59:00

Have you considered an on line ordering and delivery service along the Algarve please?

by Mike. from Algarve on 02-01-2016 06:54:00

I and my family have been in Algarve for almost 30 years now and the opening of Iceland at Guia has been absolutely wonderfull. Nowadays with all the large supermarkets we have so much choice for the weekly shop but Iceland provides all the wonderfull tasty British treats and sundries we had to have brought brought over from the UK or go to Spain and Gib for (and believe me we did,making an annual pilgrimage to Gib for the sake of the childrens goodies at Christmas) The staff at Guia are friendly and curtious and willing to help and advise I dont know all their names but I do know of Ian, Jackie at the butchers and Loraine and Irene at the tills but all the staff make it a pleasure to go in, So staff forget the 'grumps' who need to get a life or go back to the UK, nobody's forcing them to stay here , youre doing a great and much appreciated job . Mrs Currie

by mrs Currie from Algarve on 28-03-2013 11:30:00

Hi, I am in Spain with many more English we have to cross the border & pay tolls to get to Iceland in Guia. However we all come & love the food, atmosphere & help we get from staff.To have an Iceland in Spain would be great. We used to have a delivery from tesco's a lorry.£10 per box from the uk ,but that has now stopped, could Iceland provide this service , delivery to Ayamonte in Spain, I & many other english live Gibraleon, Ayamonte Cartaya & more.Good luck & can't wait as we are over on the 22nd to stock up, thank you ,Vanessa

by vanessa smith from Other on 15-12-2012 05:25:00
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