IGA, KJ’s Stores Improve Inventory Intelligence

Itasca Retail’s CGO and DSD receiving software helps retailers better compete in modern retail economy
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
IGA, KJ’s Stores Improve Inventory Intelligence
W. Lee Flowers will install Itasca Retail’s Magic computer-generated ordering and DSD receiving systems chainwide.

To improve on-shelf availability for customers, grocery distributor W. Lee Flowers & Co. will install Itasca Retail’s Magic computer-generated ordering and DSD receiving systems at its IGA and KJ’s stores.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Alex Lee Inc., W. Lee Flowers & Co. owns and operates IGA and KJ’s Market grocery stores in the Carolinas and Georgia. Its sister chain Lowes Foods also implemented Itasca Magic back in 2019 to ensure quality service and product availability.

“Itasca Retail and its inventory management capabilities helped us maintain superior in-stock conditions during my time at Lowes Foods,” said Chris Van Parys, president of Scranton, S.C.-based W. Lee Flowers. “I am very excited to implement the systems in our KJ’s and IGA banners, and look forward to the impact they will have on our operations and to our guest experience.

“Guest satisfaction is our mission,” he added, “With the challenges our industry faces now, having automated real-time tools will make us a better operator for the communities we serve.”

Many grocers have experienced empty shelves during the course of the pandemic due to supply chain snarls, causing shopper frustration. Itasca Inventory Intelligence enables retailers to automate historically manual processes for ordering, inventory forecasting and DSD receiving, with increased speed and accuracy to ensure satisfied shopping experiences and significantly reduce waste and labor. The system combines sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, along with deep understanding of the North American grocery replenishment process, to generate gains in sales and productivity while reducing inventory, shrink, product handling and vendor credits.

Jeff Kennedy, president of West Des Moines, Iowa-based  Itasca Retail, said: “Alex Lee has seen tremendous benefit from our inventory intelligence solution, and we are pleased to see that W. Lee Flowers has chosen to follow Lowes Foods on a similar journey. We are confident they’ll see results beyond their expectations, and we are looking forward to starting the installation as the new year begins.”

More than 85,000 workers at more than 3,000 stores use Itasca Retail’s inventory intelligence platform to manage consumer shopping habits, labor shortages and shifting supply chain trends. Itasca’s customers include Wegmans, PriceChopper/Market32, Tops Markets, The Fresh Market, Raley’s, Weis Markets, Lunds & Byerlys, Cardenas Markets and Brookshire Brothers.

W. Lee Flowers, a group of 63 supermarkets operated by Alex Lee, maintains a full-line warehouse facility of more than 400,000 square feet that houses all major departments, including grocery, meat, dairy, produce, ice cream, general merchandise, and health and beauty care. Alex Lee is No. 65 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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