Iceland Foods Ltd (trading as Iceland) is a British supermarket chain, with emphasis on the sale of frozen foods, including prepared meals and vegetables. They also sell non-frozen grocery items such as produce, meat, dairy, and dry goods. The company has an approximate 1.8% share of the UK food market.
Iceland began business in 1969, when Malcolm Walker opened the first store in Leg Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, England, with his business partner Peter Hinchcliffe investing £59 for one month's rent at the store. They were still employees of Woolworths at the time, and their employment was terminated once their employer discovered their job on the side. Iceland initially specialised in loose frozen food. By 1977 they opened a new store in Manchester selling own labelled packaged food, and by 1978 it had 28 stores to its name.
In 1983, the business grew by purchasing the 18 stores of Bristol based St. Catherine's Freezer Centres, and in 1984 the business went public for the first time. The cash investment was used to purchase South East based Orchard Frozen Foods in 1986, and the purchase of larger rival Bejam in 1988. In 1993 Iceland took over the food halls of the Littlewoods department store and also acquired the French Au Gel chain. The latter move proved unsuccessful and the stores were dropped within a year.