Clothing store slashes its supply chain length

Low-cost clothing retailer New Look has cut its average supply chain length - from product design to store delivery - to six...

Low-cost clothing retailer New Look has cut its average supply chain length - from product design to store delivery - to six weeks since implementing a merchandising management system.

The company, which has 500 stores across the UK, recently replaced its two disparate IT systems for accessories and clothing with a single, integrated system based on merchandising and distribution software from Retek.

As well as cutting its supply chain length to six weeks - compared to the industry average of nine to 12 months - the Retek software has significantly reduced inventory levels, said Alan Osborne, logistics director at New Look.

"It made tremendous sense to merge the accessories and clothing businesses and we needed a single collaborative solution to support this transition," he said. "The new, improved supply chain has yielded substantial benefits. Primarily, even with increased volumes of product passing through the warehouse, we have reduced inventory. Total stock cover has been reduced and the distribution centre is now only holding one and a half week's stock cover."

n Rival low-cost clothing store Peacocks is planning to implement both merchandising and customer relationship management software from supplier JDA to help it improve store planning and boost customer service.

The company, which has 360 stores across the UK, hopes the Portfolio Merchandising Management software will help it determine which ranges of clothing should be stocked in various parts of the country, thus maximising profitability and reducing markdowns.

JDA's Affinity CRM software will help Peacocks create more targeted promotional offers and allow the retailer to introduce incentive programmes, such as loyalty cards, said Liz Sayce, project manager at Peacocks.

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