JDA sizes up South African retailer

South African fashion retailer Foschini group is using a size-scaling software package from JDA to ensure that it sells more garments at full price.

South African fashion retailer Foschini group is using a size-scaling software package from JDA to ensure that it sells more garments at full price.

Foschini has 1300 stores split between 13 trading divisions that sell quality and fashion clothing, jewellery and sports equipment to the complex Southern African market.

Each store serves a different target market. This makes optimising the stock and sizes immensely complex, even though there are clusters of stores with similar customer profiles.

Brent Curry, the group's CIO, said the company uses the size scaling software to get more of the right size clothing into the right store at the right time. This maximises sales at full price and minimises the number of goods marked down at the end of the sales period.

"The markdown percentage is a key performance indicator for the company," said Baziel Barends, Foschini's merchandise systems manager. The figure for the group is currently around 8%. "We hope the size-scaling system will help us cut markdowns by 1% and increase sales by 0.5%, and we expect the system to pay for itself within one season."

The size-scaling system works out the optimal "curve" or range of sizes and order quantities for each garment. "Ideally we will sell out of each size of every range on the last day of the full price selling period," Barends said.

The information systems department runs a raft of JDA products with Oracle on IBM AIX and NT servers. All 1300 stores are online, feeding JDA's Portfolio Mechandise Management system to enable the company to have "one version of the truth," said Curry.

Arnaud Decarsin, MD for JDA's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, said Foschini's IT department played a key role in extending JDA's Intellect data-mining tool for clustering retail stores based on products sold, by adding more forecasting, sizing, packaging and usability. The refinements engineered by Foschini are now part of JDA's standard size-scaling package.

"Foschini is a very demanding client, one we have had for nearly 10 years, and it could not do without very sophisticated use of IT," he said. "We are always happy to work so intimately with such users because everyone benefits."




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