News

Britian’s Arcadia Group selects Oracle Retail platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

London – British fashion retailer Arcadia Group, whose banners include Topshop and Topman, has chosen Oracle Retail Merchandising Operations Management, Oracle Retail Merchandise Planning and Optimization, and Oracle Commerce applications to create a platform to help optimize retail operations and support its developing international business. Arcadia will use Oracle Retail applications to improve core merchandising and supply operations and enable the business to better meet customer demand in its 2,507 owned stores and 600 international franchised outlets across 36 countries.

In particular, Arcadia expects to improve the customer experience with the creation of more accurate profiles of size distribution based on individual stores, rather than at a country level, to better align assortment with customer demand. The retailer also plans to use Oracle Retail Merchandising Analytics to gain additional insight into critical performance indicators that track sales, profit, inventory and supplier performance to further optimize operations.

Arcadia expects that the creation of international distribution hubs to enhance the global supply chain will bring additional operational efficiencies, promoting a more streamlined distribution network for owned stores and franchise partners and maximizing availability of inventory.

Arcadia has also selected Oracle Database technologies to underpin the Oracle Retail applications. The implementation of the Oracle Retail platform is part of a larger business strategy focused on delivering efficiencies and reducing IT costs throughout Arcadia Group’s brand portfolio of BHS, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop, Topman and Wallis.

“Our brands are committed to delivering an interactive, exciting and efficient shopping experience to all our customers around the world, no matter which channel they choose to use to visit us, from flagship stores to mobile devices,” said Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group. “Global expansion is a key strategic focus for Arcadia, and to do this successfully, we need to make sure the best merchandise assortment is available in each store and channel. We expect Oracle to help us enhance our merchandising strategies to help ensure that we deliver the best possible customer promise every time.”

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FINANCE

Engaged Capital retains help to set direction for Abercrombie

BY Dan Berthiaume

Newport Beach, Calif. – Engaged Capital, an investment firm specializing in small and mid-cap North American equities and stockholder of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has retained an independent global professional services firm to assist Engaged Capital in setting a new direction for Abercrombie. The firm has decades of experience in the retail and apparel sector, including the turnaround and restructuring of underperforming businesses.

Engaged Capital says the firm is also well placed to provide temporary leadership and executive search services to Abercrombie, during a time of potential management transition. Engaged Capital has also retained the services of proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners LLC, to support its efforts to elect five candidates to the board of directors of Abercrombie at the 2014 annual meeting of stockholders.

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FINANCE

Tiffany swings to Q4 loss on Swatch settlement; 13 new stores planned

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – A $473 million charge resulting from arbitration with The Swatch Group in December 2013 resulted in Tiffany & Co. reporting a net loss of $104 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Tiffany reported net earnings of $180 million in the year-ago period.

During the quarter, Tiffany reported net sales of $1.3 billion, up 5% from $1.23 billion last year. Same-store sales rose 6%. During fiscal 2014, Tiffany plans to open 13 new global stores, including five in the Americas, and close four, including one in the Americas. Worldwide net sales are expected to rise by a high single-digit percentage.

In addition, Tiffany authorized the repurchase of up to $300 million of Tiffany’s common stock through open market transactions. Purchases are discretionary and will be made from time to time based on market conditions and the company’s liquidity needs. The program will expire on March 31, 2017.

During the full fiscal year, net earnings dropped 56% to $181.4 from $416.1 million. Net sales rose 5% to $4 billion from $3.8 billion and same-store sales improved 6%.

“We are proud of our performance this past year,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany. Sales and operating earnings (excluding the arbitration-related charge) rose to record levels. “Sales growth was led by fine and statement jewelry, new or expanded jewelry collections, and continuing strength in our iconic jewelry designs. Tiffany’s marketing communications more effectively engaged global consumers wherever they shopped, our distribution network was expanded by 14 additional stores, and everywhere the store experience was enhanced by improved visual merchandising.”

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