STOP & SHOP EXPANDING ITS USE OF ESL IN 21 STORES

QUINCY, Mass. -- Stop & Shop Cos. here is expanding its use of electronic shelf labels by installing additional units in 21 stores to support more stockkeeping units and departments."We will be adding approximately 6,000 units per store to coincide with the addition of more SKUs and departments throughout 21 of our stores," said Joe Alicandro, manager of operations support at Stop & Shop. "Within

QUINCY, Mass. -- Stop & Shop Cos. here is expanding its use of electronic shelf labels by installing additional units in 21 stores to support more stockkeeping units and departments.

"We will be adding approximately 6,000 units per store to coincide with the addition of more SKUs and departments throughout 21 of our stores," said Joe Alicandro, manager of operations support at Stop & Shop. "Within six months we would like to see the rollout of the additional units completed."

Stop & Shop's additional units are reportedly in place in two stores, and a third one will be complete by early July, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The chain reportedly has 300,000 units in place. "With the new units, Stop & Shop will be using well over 400,000 labels throughout 21 stores," the source said.

The plastic tags display item prices via a liquid crystal display. A wire connected to the tag receives the item price as data is updated on the retailer's point-of-sale system.

Price data is input to a main computer at Stop & Shop headquarters, then disseminated to stores. Once the price information is electronically transferred to the 21 stores, "the data, filed in a database at store level, is transmitted to the POS systems and plastic labels within 30 seconds," said the source.

Electronic shelf tags replace the paper price labels that were traditionally printed and shipped to the stores.

"Before we installed the electronic shelf labels, we used to do all our price changes manually," as employees applied all price tags to shelves throughout the stores, Alicandro explained.

By changing prices electronically, the technology increases price accuracy throughout the stores.

"By using the electronic tags, we are seeing better price accuracy in our stores, and we are always striving to make further improvements," he said. Alicandro declined to comment on specific results Stop & Shop has experienced through the use of electronic labels.

Though there is no specific date for when it will be installed, Stop & Shop will also roll out a wireless ESL system providing approximately 17,000 labels, according to Alicandro.

The wireless system updates prices in a way similar to the retailer's current ESL system, but this version incorporates radio frequency technology. A radio chip is housed inside the plastic tags. Price data is transmitted to the electronic tag through the use of RF technology rather than a wire.

"The beauty of a wireless shelf tag is that it could be moved from one shelf to another shelf on the opposite end of the store," the source said. "The RF technology is tracked and new information can be posted on the label regardless of where it is sitting in the store."

Both versions of ESL are provided by Electronic Retailing Systems International, Wilton, Conn.