STORE SPACES

Forever 21 aligns assortments with consumer demand with Oracle Retail; 600 stores on tap

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – Fast-fashion giant Forever 21 is on the fast-track, with plans to open 600 stores over the next three years. To help support its rapid growth, the retailer is using Oracle Retail solutions.

Forever 21, which now ranks as the fifth largest specialty retailer in the United States, is taking advantage of Oracle’s advanced optimization technology and using Oracle Retail Merchandise Planning and Optimization solutions to help predict demand and align its assortments to meet the expectations and demands of its customers. The retailer implemented Oracle Retail Assortment Planning and Size Profile Optimization to help ensure that the apparel and accessories it places in stores each week are those that customers are looking for, and that will help to fuel ongoing growth.

The Oracle system will help Forever 21’s merchandising team support new store growth with more streamlined and effective processes, using the system to predict when individual items will be in demand and in what colors, styles and quantities at each of its six websites and corporate, franchise and joint-venture owned stores in 43 countries.

Taking advantage of the science incorporated into Oracle Retail Assortment Planning and Size Profile Optimization, Forever 21 can make data-driven decisions to create optimal assortments based on determining factors such as neckline, price point, fabric and other variables influencing sales.

The Oracle Retail solution enables Forever 21 to improve planning decisions based on bottom-up data from its business units, taking into account the fast pace of style changes, number of SKUs, seasonality, and sizing demands, as well as product fabrication requirements and average unit retail costs.

“The Oracle Retail solution gives us a blueprint of where the assortment is going to lead us,” said Robert Kim, VP, planning and allocation, Forever 21. “Seeing the past performance by segment and looking at color penetration and fashion attributes is in itself a giant step forward, and the data can be sliced and diced in a way that is meaningful for our merchants. Oracle took a very complicated model and made it user-friendly. We expect to gain more insight and deliver an even better product assortment for our customers as we expand our use of the Oracle Retail solution.”

Forever 21 worked with Oracle and Veltio, an Oracle PartnerNetwork Gold-level member, to launch the solution in May 2014 following a nine-month implementation program that included data cleansing as well as design and user acceptance testing.

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OPERATIONS

Lands’ End names Dolce&Gabbana exec as CEO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dodgeville, Wis. – Lands’ End Inc. has named fashion executive Federica Marchionni as CEO. Marchionni comes to Lands’ End from her role as president of Dolce&Gabbana USA Inc. She will succeed Edgar Huber, who is resigning from the company.

Marchionni has served as president at Lands’ End since 2011, overseeing the opening of several key stores, including the Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York City as well as stores in other markets including Toronto, Chicago, Aspen and Boston.

Prior to that, over the course of a career as a global group director at Dolce&Gabbana that stretches back to 2001, she led business development for business units in more than 100 countries. Marchionni was also senior VP at Ferrari, where she acted as the chief executive of a division that generated an important portion of the company’s worldwide sales.

Earlier in her career, Marchionni held positions of increasing responsibility in product marketing and sales at industry-leading consumer technology and telecommunications companies such as Samsung, Phillips, and Ericsson.

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FINANCE

Report: Standard General to act as lead bidder for RadioShack

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – Hedge fund Standard General LP is reportedly arranging to act as the lead “stalking horse” bidder for troubled electronics retailer RadioShack Corp. According to the Wall Street Journal, Standard General, which is RadioShack’s largest shareholder and has already provided financing that allowed RadioShack to operate through 2014, is currently negotiating a stalking horse deal with the company.

Standard General would serve as lead bidder in a court-supervised bankruptcy auction. The hedge fund may place a bid to but RadioShack with fewer than its current roster of 4,300 stores. RadioShack is also currently negotiating the terms of a $500 million “debtor-in-possession” loan from shareholder Salus Capital Partners that would let the company operate during Chapter 11 restructuring. That loan may include or have included provisions for RadioShack to sell up to 1,000 of its U.S. stores.

In a December 2014 SEC filing, RadioShack warned it may be forced into bankruptcy and said it only had $62.6 million on hand as of Nov. 1, 2014. The company has posted losses in 11 straight quarters.

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