SCHNUCK TO WIDEN ESL TEST TO LARGE-FORMAT UNIT

ST. LOUIS -- Aiming to build on the success of its electronic shelf label pilot in a small- format store, Schnuck Markets here will begin testing ESLs in a large-format store carrying more stockkeeping units.According to Dee Wetzel, a spokeswoman for the retailer, Schnuck will begin testing ESLs in a large-format store later this month. While the store was not identified, Wetzel noted that the test

ST. LOUIS -- Aiming to build on the success of its electronic shelf label pilot in a small- format store, Schnuck Markets here will begin testing ESLs in a large-format store carrying more stockkeeping units.

According to Dee Wetzel, a spokeswoman for the retailer, Schnuck will begin testing ESLs in a large-format store later this month. While the store was not identified, Wetzel noted that the test at the large-format store will involve 50,000 items.

The retailer has been testing ESLs in a 17,000-square-foot Schnucks Express store, also here, since it opened in July. The store's low number of SKUs -- about 12,000 -- is one of the reasons it was chosen for the initial test, according to company officials.

The ESL system from Electronic Retailing Systems International, Norwalk, Conn., uses radio-frequency technology and runs on a central computer which runs the POS and teh ESL applications.

Improving pricing accuracy and reducing labor are key goals of the ESL project, according to Larry Maggio, director of marketing services for Schnuck.

"We kind of feel that the weekly [pricing] changeover is the most labor-intensive process," Maggio told SN in an previous interview, noting that the wireless system could free store staff for other tasks.

Relying on electronic updating of shelf pricing, rather than paper shelf tags, also has the potential to improve pricing accuracy and compliance with the planogram.