Sainsbury’s is to improve promotional signage and labelling in its stores with the consolidation of the systems it uses to produce point-of-sale material.

The project, which will bring together multiple applications under a unified signage system provided by Episys, is part of a larger initiative called The Simple Programme, which has the aim of making stores simpler to manage.

The system will improve efficiency in stores and reduce the time taken for promotional changes to be implemented from three days to less than one.

Sainsbury’s head of trading and supply chain systems Gary Balmer said the consolidation of promotional advertising and shelf-edge labelling into one system will allow the grocer to communicate its offer more clearly and accurately.

He said: “This will give Sainsbury’s significant benefits, including greater consistency of pricing and promotional messages, which is of paramount importance, particularly as we develop key growth areas such as non-foods and online.”

Episys vice-president of business development Greg Galstaun added that the system will allow Sainsbury’s to provide more comprehensive product information at the point of sale for products that require it, such as consumer electronics.

The system will go live before Christmas, with new business processes to be agreed and data integration completed before it comes into use.

Separately, Sainsbury’s has signed a deal with IBM to introduce supply chain systems that will allow it to improve availability of stock in its stores.

About 4,000 of the grocer’s suppliers will make the transition to use an electronic trading network provided by Wesupply. Sainsbury’s will also adopt an electronic data interchange network service provided by Inovis to exchange documents with its suppliers.

The retailer has previously suffered from problems with product availability in stores and last year merged its supply chain and retail director roles.