Group technology director John Clarke said phone lines had interfered with readers during trials, while Simon Palinkas, IT programme manager, said there was a huge variance in performance on both short and long distance tag-reading.
“But we are making huge progress,” added Palinkas. “Trying to get 70 to 100 readers working at the same time is tough. If you put RFID into a real life environment, you get a totally different scenario.”
Tesco’s trial across 13 sites and one distribution centre last year has not lived up to expectations, he told the Retail Solutions 2005 conference in Birmingham. “The biggest headache today is tag quality. It is nowhere near 100% read rate, which is where it needs to be.”
However, he pointed out that teething problems were not unusual for new technology. “Is it all perfect? No. But we’re very
realistic and we didn’t expect to work it out first time.”
Both Palinkas and Clarke have likened RFID to the introduction of the barcode 25 years ago. “We’re having the same conversations about RFID now that we were back then,” said Clarke. “I’m not saying it will take as long. In fact, in the past two years the pace of change has been phenomenal. Learnings in RFID are unmatched anywhere else in IT.”
Tesco has set a Christmas deadline to have its 30 distribution centres and at least 800 stores RFID-enabled. It is also aiming to have at least one RFID reader at more than 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland and is likely to extend item-level tagging beyond DVDs to clothing (The Grocer, June 11, p10).
Scottish retailers have rejected a call by the Scottish Parliament to restrict wine and beer promotions. Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the call for the ban on promotions to be extended to the off-sales sector was both unwarranted and unnecessary.
Costcutter is leafleting universities across the UK within the next month in a bid to recruit more campus-based stores. It currently has five campus sites, including two in York generating weekly sales of £100,000, and is in discussion with three others.
Retailers could gain £5bn in sales over the next five years by targeting older shoppers, says a report by Verdict Research. By 2009 there will be an increase of more than 500,000 shoppers aged over 65, according to the study.
Symbol group Premier has launched a new ‘summer-long deals’ promotion to boost member’s sales over the hot summer months. It is being backed by colour flyers.
Tesco is bolstering its international division by recruiting another group expatriate manager. Based in the UK, the additional role will help the company support expatriates in 13 countries.
A survey by the Forum of Private Business has revealed that 75% of small business owners would back a public ban on smoking. In the transport sector, 88% were in favour. In the hotel and catering industry, 44% were opposed.
The Prince of Wales has extended his patronage of regional group Taste of the West for a further five years.
It’s all academic
Red hot grey sales
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