Anne Bruce
Most retailers enlarged their vehicle fleet in 2002 to allow for increased backhauling, according to findings of the new IGD Retail Logistics 2003 report.
Asda, M&S, Nisa and Tesco reported over 20% increases in vehicles, with the trend towards convenience formats meaning more smaller vehicles for city centre supply. Asda, Somerfield and Tesco all reported a year-on-year increase in the number of composite or temperature controlled trailers, highlighting a move to more fresh lines instore.
Average supermarket stockholding levels on non-food and alcohol saw decreases of up to 20% in 2002 due to major advances in global sourcing and improved relationships with international suppliers. But IGD said stock levels had not fallen as fast as it might have expected on fast moving and frozen goods. The 2002 average was static at 9.6 days for fmcg, with a 0.1 fall to 9.2 days on frozen.
Booker and Londis achieved low stockholding levels, of 10.2 and 10.6 respectively. Asda was 10.2, Somerfield 11.4, Sainsbury 9.3, and Tesco 9.9. Average depot size has increased 9%, and continued an upward trend.
The multiples moved towards larger depots, with the average size for Tesco nearly 293,000 sq ft compared to Nisa-Today's average of 133,000 sq ft.
The IGD noted that with the advent of factory gate pricing, combined with increased backhauling, supplier control over distribution was likely to keep falling.

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