Sir, A ‘new breed’ of retailer recognises the benefits of blending digital and in-store channels, as your Property Power List indicates. In the fashion sector, automated supply chain solutions such as RFID are improving stock control and visibility across all channels. The resultant data’s detailed insights into consumer behaviour can deliver a more engaging shopping experience. And the process also allows the retailer to reduce excess stock, so under-utilised store space can be used in a more effective way, such as for click & collect.
For some, this will mean the reformatting of existing stores or relocation to smaller footprints, supported by hi-tech RDCs that facilitate online orders. For others, smaller stores in a catchment will be consolidated into a single, larger dominant store. Right-sizing property portfolios now will help retailers maintain competitive advantage.
Stephen Proudley, director, Lambert Smith Hampton
Sir, Richard Walker is to be applauded for taking a brave stance in the war against packaging waste; his guest edited edition made for encouraging reading. I suspect many of his suppliers have been working away at reducing waste, investigating technologies like cellulose and improving their green credentials. In 2008, IPN developed a new brand of dogfood, Harringtons, sold in a compostable paper bag, which we patented; 14 million bags later, the broader concern is whether local councils are set up to deal with composting. We put our bigger bags into single polymer plastic bags that don’t use zips, and we invested in a system to capture wet (start-up) waste and recycle it.
Perhaps The Grocer should share best practice by celebrating anti-waste initiatives monthly.
Richard Page, MD, IPN
Technology can cut waste
Sir, To tackle waste we need to rethink our entire relationship with food. While changing consumer education and expectation is essential, as is the drive to increase biodiversity, it will be within the food supply chain that these changes come together. In a difficult, low-margin market, disruptive market players must leverage digitisation to drive change. New technologies can generate the innovation key to making fundamental change, from automation and enhanced productivity to supply chain efficiency, food safety and increased visibility.
Jason Kay, CCO, IMS Evolve