South African retailer Woolworths is to expand its use of the i2 Retail supply chain management solution as part of its strategy to improve both efficiency of operations and customer service.

The company (which has no relationship with other retailers trading under the Woolworths name) already uses i2 Merchandise Planner and i2 Merchandise Allocator. Under the terms of this new agreement, Woolworths will extend into i2's full Merchandise Planning suite by implementing i2 Demand Planner and i2 Replenishment Planner for its textiles business.

The i2 Merchandise Planning suite is designed to deliver: improved customer service through better in-store availability of products; reduced inventory costs and less markdowns as a result of better forecasting and stock planningetter use of resources, both in terms of people and stock; and enhanced efficiency of operations paving the way for sales growth.

i2 Retail will be introduced at Woolworths in a phased implementation project that started in February 2003 in Cape Town, with a goal of completing rollout by the fourth quarter of 2003.

Woolworths has 193 stores throughout Africa and the Middle East. Country Road, a clothing and homeware subsidiary of Woolworths Holdings Limited, has 44 stores and operates in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.