TECHNOLOGY

Finish Line takes merchandise planning global

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Finish Line is now positioned to localize product assortments chainwide.

The athletic footwear and apparel retailer added the TXT Retail Merchandise Planning Solution, a platform that will manage merchandise financial planning across its 950 locations in the United States and its digital channels. Overall, the solution will enable Finish Line to set global targets for all products, brands and channels they serve, and make buying decisions based on expected customer demand.

The first phase of the Finish Line deployment, which was completed in October 2017, included all aspects of merchandise financial planning, including strategic planning, preseason financial planning, in-season forecasting and open-to-buy management. This roll-out established one version of the truth across its organization and created a starting point for assortment plans by location.

Now as the buying season progresses, the solution will help the company to easily simulate buying scenarios and make course corrections — processes that will help it meet margin and inventory investment targets. The application also supports collaborative planning with key vendors.

During the next project phase, Finish Line is focusing on store planning and clustering, key item planning, and assortment strategy to create customer-focused assortments that meet localized demand.
“By partnering with TXT Retail, Finish Line has advanced our merchandising processes to better serve our customers,” said Brad Eckhart, senior VP, planning and allocation, Finish Line.

“The use of TXT Retail’s industry-leading solution supports our objective to provide seamless customer experiences and the best, localized product selection to our shoppers,” he added. “At the same time, we have optimized our inventory investment to deliver the most profitable product mixes.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart has big online plans for 2018

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart’s online results for the fourth quarter spooked investors, but the discounter is confident that it will regain momentum this year.

Walmart reported a 23% increase in online sales for the quarter, compared to a 50% increase in the previous quarter. The chain said part of the decline was expected as sales growth on Jet.com, which it acquired in 2016, cooled. It also cited operational snags.

Despite the disappointing results, Walmart is well poised for future online growth and expects e-commerce growth of 40% in its current fiscal year. It is planning a number of investments in its website and overall digital operations that should start to take hold later this year, CNBC reported.

The upcoming initiatives include a revamped website with a focus on fashion and home goods. The site will also feature Jet.com’s “smart cart” technology, which provides shoppers cheaper prices if they pack more items together in one box, use a debit card when paying for purchases or opt out of returns, the report said.

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Study: Retailers’ omnichannel investments drive online sales by 16%

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Brick-and-mortar retailers’ increased investments in omnichannel platforms are driving up the overall growth of online sales.

E-commerce retail sales increased by 16% to $453.5 billion in 2017, accounting for 8.9% of total retail sales for the year, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. (E-commerce retail sales include both the revenue of pure-play “e-tailers” and the online sales of primarily brick-and-mortar brands.)

While pure-play e-retailers are contributing this increase, this growth was due in large part to brick-and-mortar retailers’ active investment in omnichannel platforms — a move that confirms that omnichannel remains the key to success for all retail brands, the study reported.

In addition to strong online growth, in-store sales continued to increase at a healthy clip last year. Physical store retail sales grew 3.4% in 2017—the highest growth rate since 2012 and a strong indicator that U.S. consumers continue to shop in-store, the report revealed.

Although growth rates (in percentage terms) are significantly higher for e-commerce than physical store sales, in-store sales contribute substantially more to overall retail growth than online sales. In-store revenue increased by $152.7 billion in 2017, compared with a $62.5 billion increase for e-commerce.

 

 

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