Safeway has removed more than £38m of stock from its supply chain in six months as communications with suppliers have improved.

Speaking as the company unveiled a 0.7% rise in second quarter like-for-like sales, director of communications Kevin Hawkins said Safeway had significantly reduced ambient buffer stock in store backrooms and warehouses through closer collaboration with suppliers via Safeway’s SIS extranet system.

“We are planning to look at other areas such as chilled and fresh as well,” said Hawkins. “We’re basically taking stock out of the system without impacting availability.”

Promotional forecasting had also improved, he added. “We have been doing Gonzalez deep cut deals for four years - so we are getting better and better at forecasting promotional volumes.”

Hawkins added: “Store managers also have a better view of what they are trading.”