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House of Fraser takes fast track to data integration

House of Fraser has successfully integrated the IT systems of department store group Beatties into its core merchandising system, following the acquisition of the business last year.

House of Fraser has successfully integrated the IT systems of department store group Beatties into its core merchandising system, following the acquisition of the business last year.

The retailer moved the merchandising system used by Beatties’ 11 stores on to its Mercatus proprietary merchandising system in stages over several weekends.

Frank Berridge, IT director at House of Fraser, said, "Beatties did not have sophisticated merchandising systems. The level of tagging of its merchandise was not down to stock-keeping unit level and most of the ordering was done at store level using manual stocktaking."

The store-by-store data conversion process took place between close of trade on Saturday and opening time on Sunday morning. In the week before conversion, each store conducted a stock count.

All the stores were moved onto House of Fraser systems by early March - six months after the takeover.

Because fashion retailers buy stock many weeks in advance, the acquired stores will not be fully stocked with products handled by Mercatus until the autumn/winter fashions arrive later this year.

Although Beatties had implemented chip and Pin before the takeover, House of Fraser said it found it easier to bring in its own payment system because it negated the need to gain certification for the interface between Mercatus and the Beatties system.

Last year House of Fraser also bought Scottish retailer Jenners, which has four department stores, and that conversion process has proved straightforward.

Berridge said, "We were able to take a datastream from Jenners' system and feed it straight into our merchandising system."

House of Fraser will move the last two Jenners stores onto its systems later this month.

Berridge declined to say how much House of Fraser spent integrating the retailers' systems.

This was first published in May 2006

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