The Co-operative Group claims it has boosted monthly sales by up to £1m after introducing new software to improve availability.

The software means store managers no longer need to make daily stock orders, which the retailer said led to “unpredictable outages and averages”.

The Syncsort DMExpress system crunches data daily to create individual store planograms that show how much space managers should allocate to lines on a daily basis.

It assesses 180 food categories overnight, before producing planograms for store managers to check every morning and takes into account each store’s customer preferences, region, inventory levels and current promotions.

The system’s real-time insights had helped The Co-op maximise sales - for instance, by preparing it for a sudden heatwave, said Peter Chapman, project manager for The Co-op Group’s SMART (Store Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation) initiative.

“Weather is one of the toughest variables,” he said. “If there’s warm weather forecast, we know we’ll sell more cold drinks. Now we can influence the stores’ orders centrally, overnight, and dictate to them where to place additional drinks. This helps us capitalise on emerging opportunities.”

Ranging and merchandising were critical for any retailer, he said. “Having this information in each store at the start of the day means store managers are continually aligned with the latest data, promotions and trends.”

The group finalised the rollout of the software to all its 2,800 food stores this month.

Last week, it reported a rise in like-for-like food sales of 3.1% in the four weeks before Christmas and of 16.1% in the final week of the pre-Christmas period.