Siân Harrington C-store multiple Jacksons Stores is working on a strategy for automatic replenishment in chilled and fresh produce as it strengthens its focus on product availability. MD Angus Oughtred said the Hull-based retailer was developing bespoke IT systems to deliver availability and service. "IT continues to deliver competitive advantage," he said. The company already has automatic replenishment in parts of the business, including dry and packaged goods. Its system calculates expected weekly demand (EWD) which drives the automatic order. To ensure increased sales over promotional periods do not skew the figure, it takes EWD for the six weeks prior to a promotion to calculate the regular product requirement. Store managers can manually increase the EWD by scanning a barcode or shelf-edge label and requesting extra cases. This information goes directly to Jacksons' warehouse in Melton. If there are gaps on shelves managers can use the handheld scanner to see what the computer thinks is in stock. They can then trace whether stock has not been put out or has been stolen, for example. Managers can also get sales figures and customer numbers per hour and can see the top selling lines by quantity and value. Jacksons said availability is at 97% at the moment. Jacksons is also developing an electronic planogram, which will be delivered to store by internal intranet, and is launching a mystery shopping programme in the autumn to test availability. l Figures from Jacksons' new Blossom Street store in York ­ its 100th ­ show sales at £29k per week, customer numbers at 8,800, and average spend of £3.24. Fresh food is 20% of sales. {{NEWS }}