JD Sports is to introduce technology to allow it to forecast store sales and make decisions about store investment opportunities.

The sports retailer is creating models to help it forecast sales based on variables such as consumer demographics, frontage, pitch, product mix and competitor information, as well as using sales data.

JD Sports, which last week opened a store in Meadowhall with PlayStations in the seating area to keep children entertained while they wait for shoes, is using IBM SPSS Modeler from predictive analytics supplier SPSS. It is expected to be able to make forecasts using the system in the next couple of months.

JD Sports site research and development manager Alastair Browne said the system has been chosen to help the retailer understand the impact of changes to its store network. Although the retailer was already doing sales forecasting, the system will allow it to undertake a greater level of analysis. Browne said: “Given the national coverage of our store portfolio and the varying demands of the consumer, we now feel the requirement to segment our stores more effectively and develop a series of more detailed models using IBM SPSS Modeler to optimise sales forecasting.”

Decisions that the predictive analytics system can provide insight into include where to place new stores, refurbishments, relocations, upsizing and downsizing. In particular, JD Sports wants to review opportunities for new outlets across all of its fascias more quickly and accurately, in order to open profitable stores of the right size in the right location.

Browne added that the system’s introduction will provide “real insight into the wide range of variables that influence store performance, helping us make key decisions about our future store strategy”.