WH Smith

WH Smith has signed up supply chain specialist Relex Solutions to help reduce waste of fresh and chilled foods in its Travel shops.

Relex will also help the retailer improve demand forecasting and replenishment and increase availability in its 768 airport and railway stores.

WH Smith’s travel shops are “the most rapidly expanding part of our business” said CIO Ian Windsor.

The chain reported like-for-like sales for Travel shops up 5% over Christmas, with total Travel sales up 10% including a 3% contribution from forex revenue [21 weeks to 21 January 2017]. Total group sales rose 2% in comparison.

“As such there is a great need for us to enhance our decision-making around forecasting and replenishment so our supply chain operates as optimally as possible,” said Windsor.

“Our main objectives are to reduce and better manage waste, and get the right products available at the right time, in the right quantity. We want our customers to be able to select the products they want and we need to make sure our food cabinets have optimised stock levels so we do not lose out on sales.”

The new system, which will reduce costs and waste, and improve customer satisfaction for its short shelf-life products, including sandwiches and prepared salads, would be implemented during the spring, WH Smith said.

“We are looking forward to working in close collaboration with WH Smith and having the opportunity to help it meet its strategic objectives, gain valuable customer insight and support the continued growth of the business,” said Relex Solutions sales director Paul Cowley.

Relex said the retailer would also be able to analyse historical passenger numbers and footfall, and use machine learning to predict future customer visits.