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Process cost study

Personnel expenses in the supermarket

Merchandise clearance ties up personnel

EHI study “Personnel costs in supermarkets”


A friendly greeting, good advice or a smile at the checkout – competent staff contribute significantly to the success of a supermarket, but also to the costs. Around 13 percent of sales must be budgeted for personnel in the supermarket. In the EHI study “Personnel Costs in Retail”, commissioned by POS TUNING, personnel costs are broken down transparently by department and activity, revealing what the biggest cost drivers are and where costs can potentially be reduced.

Distribution of weekly hours …

At 27.4 percent, service accounts for the most hours per week. 20.5 percent of the weekly hours are required at the checkout, and 14.6 percent are required at dry goods. All the other sectors accounted for less than ten percent each: fruit and vegetables 9.3 percent, mopro 9.3 percent, administration/other 9.1 percent, beverages 7.8 percent. At 2 percent, the frozen assortment is the least costly.

…. According to activities

In addition, the EHI study examines how much time is needed for which activities in the individual areas. The fruit and vegetable area takes up the most time with 82 hours per week, with the handling (stocking, re-stocking, price labeling) of fresh produce accounting for the largest share with 69 hours. For goods receipt (control, repacking, transport in the store) and disposition/inventory incl. stock correction, on the other hand, only 6.5 hours are needed in each case. Plus refrigeration requires 67.2 hours of care per week – including 7 hours for receiving and 3.7 hours for scheduling/inventory – ranking second in share of labor hours, followed by AfG/beer with 45.4 hours, confectionery with 17.9 hours. The drugstore assortment takes up the least amount of time, just 11.6 hours. In each area, the handling of the goods is the most time-consuming.

“Most retailers forego a detailed inspection at goods receipt due to time constraints. However, if the pallets and roll containers are already stocked in the warehouse in a way that is optimized in terms of shelving and stocking, this will significantly shorten the stocking process.” summarizes Marco Atzberger, member of the management team at EHI and author of the study. The relatively high number of working hours for plus cooling also appears striking. Here, the shelf life or the best-before date and the overall small parts are drivers of the time required. However, Atzberger recommends that, given the tight margins, every simplification should really be examined here.