from Colin Harper, Storecheck Marketing
Sir; re Lost sales rate soars at 50% availability' (The Grocer, 21 September, p12). Many brand owners and retailers will read it and say That's OK, we're never that bad anyway'.
Wrong. The problem with currently quoted availability figures is that you could only feel smug if all hours of the week were created equal.
Research we have carried out shows that many categories are well under half full at certain times of the week ­ Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons, for example.
Here you may only have a single lone sentry on the shelf that, like the last biscuit on the tray, everyone avoids picking up. However, this is peak demand time. A replenishment philosophy that addresses the week's average will fall very well short at the end of the week. And current systems fail because no sale could be made to trigger replenishment.
Significantly more time should be spent on refixturing, to reduce facings and outer sizes for brands that are always in stock and to favour brands that are always running out. Unfortunately, when we have moved individual lost sales opportunity' brand learnings up to whole categories, many companies fail to see their best interests may lie in delisting one brand to give another room to grow, even though they can see real increases in sales available.
This must give them pause for thought. How about a more in-depth look at the whole area?