JJB Sports takes on e-business with Oracle

JJB Sports, the largest sports retailer in the UK, is planning to implement the financials and purchasing modules of Oracle's...

JJB Sports, the largest sports retailer in the UK, is planning to implement the financials and purchasing modules of Oracle's E-business Suite, to improve efficiency and support its expansion plans.

The announcement comes a week after the company issued a profits warning, which it blamed on increased operating costs and the World Cup. JJB, which has 435 stores in the UK, said high sales of replica football kits had been at the expense of higher-margin branded clothing sales.

Nevertheless, sporting events such as the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games mean JJB Sports has seen an increased demand for goods, said finance director David Greenwood.

The company turned to Oracle because it needs to be able to ascertain quickly what is selling well, what the current trends are and where the business is under- or over-performing, he said.

"We need to continue to improve the information about the financial state of the businesses at any time of the day or night and the Oracle software will enhance our ability to achieve this position," Greenwood said.

Earlier this year, Oracle was involved in controversy when analyst firm Meta Group claimed the company had illegally reinterpreted existing software licensing contracts in order to push up revenues.

Oracle dismissed the claim, putting it down to a handful of misunderstandings about its policy, but the furore has meant companies have been careful to ensure that contracts are watertight.

This includes JJB Sport, Greenwood admitted. "Any potential licensing problems have been overcome," he said. "We have paid one price and we are now fully licensed."

Despite last week's profit warning the company remains confident of future growth - backed up by its IT initiatives, Greenwood said.

"In 2002, we have opened a new distribution centre, a new buying office and upgraded our IT hardware on to an EMC system," he said. "Modernising our systems will provide the base to support the opening of a number of new stores and health and leisure clubs."

Read more on Business applications

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.