Richard Jenkins, head of loss prevention and RFID at Marks & Spencer, believes the primary benefit of RFID for the retailer is the technology's capability to provide a better focus on sales.

“We think our full prices versus reduced sales mix has been materially enhanced because RFID has given us a level of accuracy that would not have been been possible otherwise,” said Jenkins. “Love it or loathe it, RFID is a transformative technology," he added.

An ineffective stocking system can have a huge effect on retailers at a critical time, according to River Island loss prevention manager Martin Speed.

He said that before River Island introduced RFID some 11% of its key lines were out of stock during the last peak season.

Speed added that by the end of the year the jewellery department was sometimes down to 34% accuracy and was entering peak season guessing how much new stock it had to buy.  

Along with allowing better buying, RFID is helping to boost in-store sales.

“We are now more able to say it is not on the shop floor, and then we are less likely to waste the customer’s time and can order it online then and there,” said John Lewis stock management operations manager Rob Mitchell.

While John Lewis and River Island are only a year into deploying the technology, Marks & Spencer has used it for a number of years.