A major upgrade of space-planning software across almost 2,500 stores in the Co-op's CRTG buying group has just been completed.
The new user-friendly software from Galleria enables merchandisers to generate electronic planograms that can be downloaded from the internet, drop and drag products from shelf to shelf in virtual stores, highlight new products or promoted products with icons, and create floating shelves that can be pegged on to fixtures and all in record time.
The technology is already in place at recent acquisition Alldays, making the integration process run more smoothly, said head of projects and merchandising Mark Holloway.
"We are not doing store-specific ranging yet that will probably come a couple of years down the line. But we are able to feed in more and more data into the Galleria system all the time. We can import data such as case sizes, rates of sale, EPoS data, prices, and which stores need which plans, directly into the software."
Currently, ranging is decided by a complex cluster system. This allocates stores according to format, such as Market Town or Welcome, identifies them as striving', thriving' or middle Britain', and finally adds in regional variations.
EPoS data also helps establish the appropriate number of facings per item in stores according to rate of sale. "This allows us to import more data to make better ranging decisions," said Holloway.
Galleria MD Ian Duncan-Lewis said the upgrade represented a "quantum leap" for the CRTG. "Previously, they were restricted with 16-bit technology, this is far quicker and simpler to use."
The software is compatible with JDA space planning technology used by the CRTG's second largest member United Co-op, he added.