Retailers' IT spend shows 27% increase

The UK's top 100 retailers have spent £1.8bn on IT in the past 12 months - a rise of 27%. This has been driven by chip and...

The UK's top 100 retailers have spent £1.8bn on IT in the past 12 months - a rise of 27%. This has been driven by chip and Pin-related point of sale upgrades, a survey from business intelligence provider Retail Knowledge Bank has revealed.

The top 100 retailers spent an average of 1.4% of annual sales revenue on technology in 2003, up from 1.1% last year. "We believe this represents increased expenditure on chip and Pin implementations, plus a realisation that technology improvements can be translated into profitability increases," the report said.

The increase in spend was also driven by interest in software that has often been seen as peripheral in the past, such as space management applications, which are now in use at 54% of respondents' shops, up from 47% last year, and time and attendance systems, up to 48% from 33%.

Radio frequency identification technology is also gaining acceptance, with 8% of retailers carrying out trials, 5% planning to use RFID in the next year, and 10% "seriously investigating" its use.

Martin Atherton, managing analyst at research firm Datamonitor, said the results of the survey reflected increasing confidence in supply chain and collaborative technologies among UK retailers.

"It could be that it is the retail supply chain's turn to benefit from e-business - we've had ERP and CRM, now we are seeing the practical benefits of advances in supply chain, fulfilment and collaborative technologies," he said.

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