category management




Single interface application simplifying store processes, reducing the hours spent on stock and credit management, allowing retailers to focus on improving customer experience.

Tailored reporting and analytics of real-time stock supply and return activities allowing informed decision-making.

Facilitates the implementation, support and control of optimized processes and best practice across stores and suppliers.

Read the benefits in detail arrow

account management

rascal provides robust account management support to retail partners. The team has extensive experience across the industry and is driven by delivering improved results. The key priorities are; to ensure maximum credit is received by retailers, to highlight where correct and incorrect store processes are followed and to provide regular insight to ensure continuous improvements in performance.

By bringing all parties together, rascal can help to facilitate the relationship between retailers and wholesalers. Any best practice learned is shared across the industry – the aim is to provide retailers with the best possible information to enable them to get on with running their businesses.


easy access to tailored reporting

rascal insight was launched in 2012, providing full online reporting access. rascal can build reports to reflect the individual needs of the retailer. These reports can all be found in one place, instantly – this wipes out the problem of having information scattered across different places.

This allows people from across different locations and functions to understand the data generated - demystifying and highlighting issues via an easy to access portal.


supplier and store performance reports

rascal is able to provide reports that highlight the performances of both suppliers and stores, so that category managers can easily see where problems occur and take action to improve performances across the category.

Stores and suppliers can be ranked across the country and improvement plans put in place to tackle the worst performing areas, whether it is stores that are not following the correct process or suppliers that are not processing returns quickly enough.

monitor supplier performance

The rascal system ensures best practice across all stores and provides head office with a fast and accurate method of monitoring compliance.

It is simple to see compliance of all stores at all stages and processes on the category, allowing retailers to drive best practice category discipline.

The data can highlight which stores are underperforming, enabling the focus to be put on specific training needs, as well as providing best practice examples of high performers - a positive force to improve the compliance at each outlet.

One major national retailer has achieved a remarkable 99% compliance rate on product checks, thanks to the data rascal is able to provide.

total visibility of goods-in and out

Traditional manual methods of managing stock in / out often resulted in head offices not knowing what was going on in individual stores or being able to keep track of problems.

With rascal, robust, accurate, up-to-date online reports essentially give a line-by-line account of what titles are coming in and going out, as well as compliance of stores and suppliers.

rascal reports will show, for example, which stores haven't booked in essential deliveries or dealt with their returns, or how many copies of which titles are going into which stores, and the level of subsequent claims.

Category managers have superior information available to them when they meet suppliers. rascal is able to highlight performance across a variety of metrics such as; how many claims are made, the value of early and late returns as well as which stores and suppliers are performing best.

complete supply chain visibility, including direct suppliers

rascal offers the ability to see which suppliers are putting which titles into which stores - a unique offer which has never been supplied before.

This allows stores to deal efficiently and effectively with national and local suppliers - removing multiple in-store processes for stores dealing with these different suppliers.

Since 2012 stores are able to book in / out all newspapers and magazines from all regional publishers through the rascal PDA.

consolidated data in easy-to-understand formats

Our flexible and bespoke online reporting structure allows us to provide you with the information you need, in the format you want.

Retail partners can log in to rascal insight to quickly and easily access reports containing the data generated by the rascal PDA. These reports enable emerging trends to be identified, meaning that it is easy to put solutions in place to make stores more efficient and customer focused.

gap scanning – identifies sales opportunities

With rascal’s gap scanning function, the category manager is able to quickly and efficiently identify gaps on store fixtures as well as getting easy visibility of any repeated availability issues on specific titles.

The rascal PDA immediately informs of these gaps, allowing the category manager to challenge the level of allocation of specific titles - with robust data to back up their case.

By providing this data, rascal enables its retail partners to maximise sales and provide the level of customer service required, by making sure the right titles are in the right place in the right quantities.

easy management of promotions and specials

Managing promotions and special titles has often been a headache for retailers - but rascal now puts power in the hands of the retailers to manage these effectively.

The rascal system ensures that category managers are aware of promoted titles that have been booked into store, as these titles arrive.

Meanwhile, time-limited promotions are managed more efficiently - with stores now able to ensure they can return promotional titles that are no longer on promotion and prior to the supplier off sale date.

The information provided by rascal mirrors that held by retailer and wholesaler - ensuring consistent, reliable data is put in the hands of the retailer.

optional orders management

New to version 6, stores can now easily choose which optional titles they wish to stock by simply inputting their choices via the PDA. This function gives each retailer greater visibility and control to ensure they are catering for local needs, in turn providing a significant sales opportunity.

A limit on the number of optional titles allowed in stores by grade is determined by the retailer head office to ensure fixtures don’t become cluttered. Furthermore, on request, rascal can give full details of which stores have which titles so that category managers can have full visibility of all the titles chosen by the store.

non-ranged titles reporting

From the moment stock arrives, the PDA can warn the store of non-ranged stock being supplied.

Each PDA's information is unique to an individual store, and all authorised, ranged titles are kept in the rascal database by store or grade depending on the head office requirement. As soon as a non-ranged title is delivered in to store the PDA will warn the store colleague that it is no in the range and there is an instruction to return the title.

With this stored information, stores can also highlight suppliers who consistently provide non-ranged stock, providing a basis to challenge these suppliers.

identifies new to range products

rascal's intuitive PDA provides stores with accurate, up-to-date information - allowing them to improve their shoppers' experience by ensuring shelves are filled with the right stock at the right time.

Without rascal there is a risk that when a new title is added to a stores' range, or a store has a range change, if the store colleague is not aware of the change, they could return an authorised title to the supplier incorrectly. However, with rascal the PDA stores the information relating to the new title or range change and will flag this to the operator on receipt of the first delivery of any ‘new to range’ title - so that there is no confusion and the instances of ‘early returns’ are.

The rascal system therefore helps retailers with the conversations they have with suppliers and reduces the number of unnecessary returns.

improved control of stores and suppliers

With rascal, robust, accurate, up-to-date online reports essentially give a line-by-line account of what titles are coming in and going out, as well as compliance of stores and suppliers.

rascal insight reports will show, for example, which stores haven't booked in essential deliveries or dealt with their returns, or how many copies of which titles are going into which stores, and the level of subsequent claims. They will show the level of outstanding credit by supplier depot or how long depots take to pass credit for returns.

As a category manager, armed with this information the task of improving compliance and reducing the level of outstanding credit is made a lot simpler.

mitigates risk of being charged for stock not received

With the visibility that rascal can provide, head office can challenge suppliers to make sure they are only charged for what is coming in.

Any discrepancy or outstanding credit will automatically be claimed for by rascal, giving category managers and retail head offices a degree of financial control that was not previously possible.

pay only for stock that is sold by ensuring maximum credit received for what is returned

rascal helps category managers to ensure they receive the full amount of credit owing to them for returned stock.

Clear evidence points to the fact that stores not using rascal are significantly less likely to check that the level of credit received for returns is correct, or to raise a query with the supplier if the level of credit is incorrect. rascal checks that the suppliers are crediting every return made by the store and claiming where credit has not been received. Category managers can see which stores are not properly checking stock in and out and have the confidence that rascal is claiming for any outstanding credit.

With the visibility of the data rascal provides, best practice can be encouraged in all stores, ensuring continuous improvement to process, leading to more credit being redeemed.

prevents incorrect return of new to range products

There has always been a risk of individual store colleagues not knowing about new titles appearing - and thus sending those titles back incorrectly to suppliers.

New product launches are often likely to involve significant investment by publishers. If new product launches or promotions are not displayed or are returned early, the publisher may be less inclined to invest in promotions with that retailer in the future.

Accurate information held within the rascal PDA reduces this risk, improving the retailer’s promotional compliance. This encourages more sales opportunities and better relationships with publishers.

manage local suppliers

New to version 6, stores can now book in supplies from all local / regional suppliers ensuring category managers have total visibility of which suppliers are supplying which titles, ensuring greater control over the category.

Meanwhile, local suppliers can follow the same procedures and methods of the national wholesalers - allowing them to work with you in a consistent, accurate manner.

maximize shrink reduction

Shrink - the unknown element of a store’s losses, whether that be through theft or losses along the supply chain - is traditionally very hard for retailers to pin down, meaning credit that could be reimbursed is being lost.

With rascal, the category manager has more visibility and control over stock coming in and out - allowing them to decipher how much is really being lost and how much is not being delivered in the first place.

This transparent information allows the retailer to make valid claims against any suppliers that have not delivered the correct stock. It also allows the supplier to investigate issues and provide valid reasons in response to claims for stock not being delivered or incorrect levels of credit received for returns - providing a more open, transparent relationship.

Some of rascal’s retail partners now take a direct feed of rascal information, such as outstanding credits, directly in to their own system to assist in producing their own shrink figures.

reduction in late returns

Using the rascal PDA, stores complete a weekly Product Check which involves scanning one copy of all the titles on the fixture and in the stockroom. The PDA informs the store colleague of any non-ranged or recalled issues so that the store colleague is able to essentially ’housekeep’ the fixtures taking all old and ‘end of promotion’ titles off the fixtures for return to the supplier.

Without rascal retailers have to rely on spotting recalled titles from suppliers’ paper recall notes. If an issue is missed on the day the recall note is produced there is no further reminder by the supplier. This leaves the product on the fixture indefinitely, meaning it is not returned to the supplier in time for credit. This can be the cause of a big area of loss for the stores and can also have a negative impact on the shopper experience – having past issues displayed on the fixtures.

If a store is compliant and consistently carries out the weekly product check using the rascal PDA, it can easily identify which titles need returning - increasing the chances of getting stock back on time and minimising losses as a result of refused credit.

Via rascal insight reporting the category manager gets visibility of which stores are doing their product checks most efficiently and regularly and put in place any remedial action as required.

prevents early return of product

Without rascal, retailers have to rely on the store colleague to understand whether a title should be received and displayed on the fixture and also when any product is due to be returned to the supplier. However, using the rascal PDA, the responsibility is largely taken away from the store colleague as the PDA holds all recall dates as well as the range and promotion mechanics. This means that the store colleague can rely on the PDA to make the right choice as to whether or not something needs to be returned, cutting down on mistakes and early returns. The PDA will warn the store colleague if they try to return current stock.

During the weekly product check the store scans all titles on the fixtures and in the stockroom during which the PDA gives them the current status and off-sale details. Alternatively, if a store colleague is unsure of the status of an issue at any time they can simply scan a copy and the PDA will give them the information.

Reduction in early returns can increase sales, improve the shopper experience and drive promotional compliance.

rejects unwanted, non-ranged product and supports range discipline

From the moment stock arrives, the PDA can warn the store of non-ranged stock being supplied - allowing stores to return stock instantly.

Each PDA is unique to an individual store, and all titles chosen are kept in the store's rascal database. As soon as a non-ranged title appears in store and it has been scanned by the PDA, it will instantly flag the title as not being part of the designated range.

rascal technology reduces the importance of informing stores of promotions through weekly newsletters and also the requirement for individual stores to decide on individual titles - the PDA gives them information which can be relied upon.

ability to send operational instruction direct to multiple stores

Messages from rascal can be sent directly to the handset at various stages - making the rascal PDA more than just a recording tool.

It provides the category manager with the knowledge that the right information gets to the right people at the right time - whether that be to inform about new titles or promotions, or as a reminder to perform checks or other activities.

Store compliance is thus improved as each store has to confirm each message received before it can carry out further work using the PDA.

provides opportunity to improve shopper experience

The rascal system ensures more staff time is spent engaging with customers and improving the customer experience, rather than spending valuable time away from customers chasing suppliers.

rascal ensures the right product is displayed on the fixtures - removing the risk of stores having out-of-date or non-ranged titles, on their fixtures.

Category managers can feel safe in the knowledge that the right product is being displayed and promoted to the customers, at the right time.