The Co-operative Food has completed a major transformation of its store replenishment system to improve stock availability.

TheStore Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation (SMART) software has “radically” increased product availability in store to more than 97.5%, the company said.

The system is helping to drive sales and reduce stock holding and waste following the £12.5m investment. The Co-operative believes the system could be worth up to £1m a month.

The programme will streamline the replenishment process with product ranges and orders for more than 2,800 stores nationwide now centrally controlled, for the first time, at its Manchester head office.

Seasonal variations, promotions, weather forecasts, local and national events, such as Euro 2012 and the Olympics, can now also be taken into account, with store staff working with head office to tailor parts of the product range to meet specific store requirements.

Sean Toal, chief operating officer and acting chief executive at The Co-operative Food, said: “Customer focus has been the driving force behind the SMART programme, and it will be our customers who will ultimately benefit the most, through better ranges and better product availability in our entire food store network.

“It also enables food store teams to focus on their customers by vastly reducing the time they spend on stock management.”

As part of the SMART solution, store teams no longer have to make daily stock orders, which had previously led to stock shortages and oversupplies which have now been dramatically reduced or eliminated.