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Mills Group rolls out business analytics

Retailer Mills Group plans to roll out business analytics systems across 82 convenience stores in the UK to help target products and promotions more effectively to shoppers.

Mills plans to use Torex Business Analytics software to analyse shopping data to help outlets better meet customer needs and give managers a better understanding of local markets as well as wider consumer trends.

"We can also look at trends in loss prevention, like voids, cancels, no-sales - all the aspects of using an Epos system used and abused on a fraudulent basis," said Mike Hodgson, IT director at Mills Group. "Currently, it's a manual process: someone has to look through the log files, pull out the information and find the trend. This removes the paper trail and reduces fax and telephone communications."

The deal is part of Mills Group's wider expansion plans, which include the development of five larger supermarket-format stores recently acquired from Somerfield.

"[The Torex systems] offer a strong, integrated technology solution that will support Mills Group as it expands both the number and range of stores it offers," said Helen Slaven, Torex vice-president of retail.

Mills plans to use a second system, Torex Workforce Management, to automate its paper-based time and attendance tracking system.

Rather than employees logging times manually, the system uses timeclocks, terminals, points of service or self-service kiosks to capture working hours. Mills Group decided to expand Workforce Management after a successful trial run at its Whitley Bay site.

Mills plans to install both systems in its 82 stores. It is the first time Mills Group has used dedicated business analytics and electronic time monitoring .

The group also plans to equip eight new stores, including five acquired from Somerfield, with CCTV.

"Now, if a refund is done without the customer being present at the counter, the CCTV system will fire off an e-mail or SMS to a regional store manager," said Hodgson.

Mills Group hopes to install CCTV cameras in all its stores within the next two years. The company is also working with its ISP, Onyx Group, to roll out broadband and voiceover IT services. It hopes to refresh its Epos system by 2012.

Mills Group began using Torex technology nine years ago with Torex Power-POS, an electronic point of sale system that improved stock control, security, and performance monitoring.

"Power-POS for convenience has proved to be an excellent solution for us. We are now looking to build upon the strength of our existing systems," said Hodgson. "By working with Torex again, we can integrate the systems into the Epos quite easily."


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