Henderson Group, the owner of symbol group Spar in Northern Ireland, is to automate store replenishment in an attempt to improve product availability and cash flow.

The wholesale and retail group is to deploy software from Aldata to its 72 stores and there is potential to extend the roll-out to the 400-plus independents it supplies.

A pilot of the system is poised to go live within the next six months and will run over the Christmas period before a wider roll-out to Hendersons’ stores next year.
The automated store replenishment system will be combined with mobile computers to allow real-time inventory management in stores, which aims to improve availability. It will link to Henderson’s existing EPoS, master data management and planogram systems.

Henderson Group IT director Andrew Logan said that the system will also allow the retailer to reduce the levels of stock in its supply chain. He said: “This enables us to further optimise our supply chain in Northern Ireland to assure on-shelf availability while driving down inventory costs.”

Aldata UK managing director Mark Croxton said that product availability is crucial to the company as more than 30 per cent of its sales are generated from promotional items. The system will ensure stock is available while promotions are running and also help Henderson manage the tail of the promotion.

He added that benchmark figures for retailers that use store inventory management and computer-assisted ordering suggest that an on-shelf availability of 97 per cent is possible. Best-in-class retailers can also turn newly purchased stock back into cash within 30 days.