24th EANN 2023, 14 - 17 June 2023, León, Spain

Cross-learning-based sales forecasting using deep learning via partial pooling from multi-level data

José Manuel Oliveira, Patricia Ramos


  Sales forecasts are an important tool for inventory management, allowing retailers to balance inventory levels with customer demand and market conditions. By using sales forecasts to inform inventory management decisions, companies can optimize their inventory levels and avoid costly stockouts or excess inventory costs. The scale of the forecasting problem in the retail domain is significant and requires ongoing attention and resources to ensure accurate and effective forecasting. Recent advances in machine learning algorithms such as deep learning have made possible to build more sophisticated forecasting models that can learn from large amounts of data. These global models can capture complex patterns and relationships in the data and predict demand across multiple regions and product categories. In this paper, we investigate the cross-learning scenarios, inspired by the product hierarchy frequently utilized in retail planning, which enable global models to better capture interdependencies between different products and regions. Our empirical results obtained using M5 competition dataset indicate that the cross-learning approaches exhibit significantly superior performance compared to local forecasting benchmarks. Our findings also suggest that using partial pooling at the lowest aggregation level of the retail hierarchical allows for a more effective capture of the distinct characteristics of each group.  

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