Despite continuing tough trading conditions the leading UK multiple grocers are still investing in improving the performance of their back of store areas and supply chains. That’s the upbeat message from The Grocery Trader’s quarterly Back of Store feature, bringing you a round up of the latest news and case studies about warehouse & logistics products and services for the grocery supply chain.

Consumers face continuing pressure on their household budgets, and the multiple grocers jostle for their cash with attractive offers and promotions. As always the winners in the latest checkout clashes will be those retailers with the strongest and most efficient back of store supply chains, enabling them to keep their fixtures fully stocked.

As reported on our front page and in this feature, Sainsbury’s and Toyota Material Handling UK are working in partnership to trial alternative battery technology Lithium Ion. The two companies, who have a long-standing relationship, have been testing the new battery technology in one of Sainsbury’s largest DC’s since September. As the story says, both Sainsbury’s and Toyota are known for their dedication to innovation and continuous improvement, making this partnership a perfect fit in the pursuit of back of store excellence.

Also on our front page and in this feature, storage solutions expert SSI Schaefer is committed to helping the UK multiple grocers and other leading retailers gain competitive advantage by incorporating automation into their supply chains. ‘Efficiency through Automation’ was the take-home message at SSI Schaefer’s recent annual Automation Day Conference in Liverpool, which highlighted the advantages of implementing automation into existing logistics operations.

The 70 plus delegates attending the event, represented some of the country’s largest and well-known retailers, all wanting tips on how to make significant efficiency improvements to their own operations. They got a closer look at how TJ Morris, the UK’s fastest growing discount retailer, has successfully implemented automation into its existing storage and distribution centre, resulting in increased storage capacity, maximum product pick efficiency and low labour overheads.

In the economy the green shoots may be few, but there definitely are some out there. According to the Office for National Statistics, year on year all-retail sales increased in volume by 0.6% between September 2010/ September 2011, and in value by 5.4%. And month on month, all-retail sales volume was up 0.6% between August 2011/ September 2011, and value up a corresponding 0.8%. When things pick up again, those retailers who have strengthened their back of store operations during this period will be well placed to capitalise on the resurgence in demand.

The Grocery Trader

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