The UK’s Big Food Group has reported a slight dip in first-quarter like-for-like sales and said the tough trading environment had continued to affect its operations.

The company, which owns frozen food retailer Iceland, reported a 0.5% slide in like-for-like sales for the thirteen weeks to 2 July. Like-for-like sales at Iceland slid 1.7%.

Big Food Group said the tougher trading environment noted in its statement on 27 May has continued.

“Against this background, the strategic developments across all business units have been progressed with the acceleration of the Iceland refit programme, the increased penetration of the convenience store sector by Booker through its Premier fascia and the expansion of Woodward as a national foodservice operator,” the company added.

Like-for-like sales at Booker slid 1.1%, while those at Woodward rose 32.3%.

Big Food Group said its Iceland stores awaiting renovation continued to show further like-for-like sales declines, but the store refit programme has gained further momentum. Forty refits were completed during the quarter and three new stores opened, bring the number of stores trading in the new format to 185.

“Recent industry data indicates that the level of competitiveness has increased in pace over recent months, particularly in the key area of price. The company expects the more competitive environment to continue for the foreseeable future,” Big Food Group said.

“Against tougher market conditions, our priority is to accelerate our strategic initiatives, particularly the Iceland refit programme, the roll-out of Premier and our drive into the delivered foodservice market through Woodward,” chief executive Bill Grimsey added.