Iceland has released its full-year results, revealing an increase in total sales to more than £3 billion.

The grocer, which specialises in frozen foods, has also seen an increase in like-for-like sales by 2.3% in the 53 weeks to the end of March this year. However, it says these sales are ‘negative’ against the very strong comparative of 6.4% growth in the first quarter last year.

It claims that the UK food retail market, as a whole, also slowed in this period, and says its performance is only slightly behind the market, as measured by the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

In the report for the holding company Iceland Topco Limited, the firm attributes a drop in overall net EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from £160m to £157.1m, to a number of reasons.

These include the amount investment made in marketing and problems in its “supply chain infrastructure during December which caused poor overall availability” in the key Christmas trading weeks.

During the year trading period, the company opened 27 new stores in the UK, including 23 larger stores. It also closed six stores, giving a net addition of 21 and a total of 905 in comparison to 884 last year.

In April this year Iceland announced its intention to remove palm oil as an ingredient from its own label-food in response to the continuing destruction of the tropical rainforests. It has committed to launch a further 200 new products containing no palm oil ingredients by December, including the complete Christmas range.

Last month it also became the first UK retailer to agree to adopt the Plastic Free Trust Mark developed by the campaign group A Plastic Planet and was the first UK retailer to install a trial Reverse Vending Machine for plastic bottles.

Group managing director of Iceland, Tarsem Dhaliwal commented: “This year we have continued to take a long term view and to invest for the future: expanding our store footprint and enhancing the appeal of our existing stores through a major programme of refurbishments.

“We are continuing to roll out new and exciting food lines that are unique to Iceland, and developing our supply chain to support the growth of our retail estate.”

The report by Iceland claims that consolidation among ‘the Big Four’ food retailers seems unlikely to add significance to the intense competitive pressure under which it already operates.

To read the full report, click here.