Following the regrettable outbreak of legal and verbal hostilities last week, the UK retailer Iceland Foods is urgently seeking a meeting with the Foreign Ministry of Iceland to lay out constructive proposals for resumption of the peaceful coexistence between the company and country that had prevailed for the previous 46 years.
Iceland Foods did not simply take its name from the Nordic nation, but has a long history of close and friendly involvement with Iceland the country. Indeed for seven years from 2005 Iceland Foods was under the control of Icelandic investors, and later Icelandic banks.
This relationship came to an end with the £1.5 billion management buyout of the company in 2012, but Iceland (the company) has continued to have a warm relationship with Iceland (the country) through the ownership of three Iceland stores there, export sales of Iceland products to other retailers throughout the country, and sponsorship of the Icelandic national team in this year’s European football championships.
The closeness and friendliness of relations was underlined when Iceland CEO Malcolm Walker welcomed then Icelandic Prime Minister Halldor Asgrimsson on an official visit to Iceland’s Fulham Road store in London in 2006.
Iceland Founder & CEO Malcolm Walker said: “We registered Iceland as our company name in 1970 and we have coexisted with the country called Iceland very happily ever since. They have made no contact with us to raise any concerns about trade mark issues since 2012.
“We have no desire whatsoever to stand in the way of Iceland (the country) making use of their own name to promote their own products, so long as it does not conflict or cause confusion with our own business. I am sure that there is ample scope for an agreement that will allow both parties to continue to live and work amicably alongside each other.
“A high level delegation from Iceland (the company) is preparing to fly to Reykjavik this week to begin negotiations, and we very much hope for a positive response and an early resolution of this issue.”