Retail Information Technology outsourcing specialist, Retail Assist, has announced a new addition to their retailer client list. They have revealed that they provided the technology solution to support the recent launch of a new overseas entrant to the UK and Eire childrenswear markets.
As comments Retail Assist’s Managing Director, Alan Morris, “Where international retailers are considering entering or expanding in the UK market, Retail Assist will help them get started and support them going forward.”
The British company has been appointed as technology partner by Odin Retail, the UK and Eire franchise arm of favourite Swedish childrenswear retailer PO.P. With its 55 stores and iconic status, PO.P’s distinctive clothing for babies and children dominates its home market and enjoys great brand loyalty.
PO.P is owned by RNB Retail and Brands (RnB), Sweden’s 10th largest retailer. Its entry into the UK market follows earlier success in Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Latvia.
Odin Retail has chosen concessions within House of Fraser stores as the route to market for its PO.P clothing. Retail Assist have been retained to set up and support the IT infrastructure to enable the franchise to operate in the UK.
Adds Odin Retail’s Managing Director, Mats Nilsson, “Retail Assist are ideally placed to support retailers looking for new channels to market. I felt that their combination of retail experience and retail technology knowledge made them my obvious first choice. I can now focus on developing my business, confident that I have a trusted partner who is focusing on my technical solution.”
Retail Assist has designed and built a number of data interfaces between the Swedish parent, Odin Retail, and House of Fraser. These are based upon Retail Assist’s proven Linux polling solution which allows data to be converted and easily pulled into another retailer’s system.
In the case of Odin, this mechanism will enable product and price files to be sent to House of Fraser and sales data to be sent back to Odin and to the parent company.
Retail Assist will continue to work with Odin as they roll out their planned 25 franchises. Later this year, as part of the retailer’s plans to expand through an own-brand chain, Retail Assist will also provide systems support for the opening of PO.P’s first solus store, in West London.
Moving forward, the supplier has been awarded a 2-year support contract to provide polling and database support.
The new interfaces cover a number of processes and constitute the staging post between RnB and House of Fraser systems. Data received from RnB is firstly converted into a product database by Retail Assist, ensuring that it complies with House of Fraser’s defined standards for format and content when loaded onto their systems.
As all garments are shipped and replenished directly from Sweden to the concessions, accompanying price data requires conversion from Krona into Pounds Sterling and Euros for ticketing and pricing information on House of Fraser’s EPoS systems.
The new systems enable merchandising data to be captured. This process records the input of products, ensures that they are traded at the correct prices and flags daily replenishment requirements.
Further new functionality has been created to measure and analyse sales performance. Here, a constant snapshot of the business is provided by detailed management reporting at store and SKU level. This enables Mats Nilsson to judge the popularity of specific product lines and the success of each concession.
All data and transaction processing is based upon an Odin Retail server which is hosted and managed by Retail Assist at their Northampton Data Centre.
The project has been characterised by speed to market. Concepts were discussed and negotiations concluded in December 2005. In little more than 3 months, the first PO.P concessions in House of Fraser stores in Norwich, Manchester, Dublin and Birmingham are already open.