IT revamp precedes relaunch

Store chain Selfridges is revamping its IT systems in preparation for the opening of two new stores in Birmingham and Manchester.

Store chain Selfridges is revamping its IT systems in preparation for the opening of two new stores in Birmingham and Manchester.

The retailer plans to open in the centre of Manchester in September and in Birmingham 12 months later, to add to its existing stores in central London and outer Manchester.

In preparation, Selfridges last month activated a 160,000 sq ft national distribution centre in Hams Hall in the Midlands.

The centre, set up in conjunction with supply chain management provider Exel and collaborative commerce software supplier Manhattan Associates, will improve the service to stores and reduce logistics costs, according to Howard Smith, head of logistics at Selfridges.

"The system works in real time, so when we receive a product and rework it, it can immediately be linked to the point of sale system," he said. "And where as previously, we were batching products once every 24 hours, the new system allows us to send out products every hour."

Smith said the deal with Exel allows Selfridges to create a platform for growth without paying for it up front. "The distribution centre is 160,000 sq ft but we are only using a part of it at the moment," he said. "We only pay for what we actually use and Exel underwrites the balance of cost."

Selfridges is also rolling out a product information database from software supplier QRS, to allow retailers and suppliers to synchronise product and pricing information via a secure network.

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