Arcadia is embarking on a three-year £50m plan to overhaul its buying and merchandising, warehouse management and supply chain systems.
The fashion retailer has signed three major contracts with Oracle, Manhattan Associates and Amber Road as it continues to grow its international presence and online offer.
Internal IT headcount at Arcadia is being increased to replace its 15-year-old legacy systems with what Arcadia said is “best of breed” IT, reducing the retailer’s costs and improving stock accuracy and visibility. The Oracle buying and merchandising system will lead to better planning, Forey said, while the warehouse management system and supply chain overhaul will enable Arcadia to perform country-specific decision making, which it cannot do at the moment.
Chief operating officer for HR and operations, Siobhan Forey, said: “The programme ultimately will support the strategy of growing online and driving revenue internationally.”
The investment will also mean that online orders in international markets can be fulfilled directly from local stores, instead of being sent via the UK. Arcadia is opening 150 international franchise Topshop stores this year, as well as five more wholly owned stores in the US including one on Fifth Avenue in New York.
Forey said the aim is to improve the flexibility of the business: “The business is continuing to expand and we need to improve the agility of the systems behind the infrastructure to support an increasingly complex business model,” she said.
Arcadia now trades in 110 countries online and has 38 franchise partners. Forey added: “It will allow us to trade in those markets more efficiently.” The systems will be used by all of Arcadia’s brands except BHS.
Chris James, regional director at Oracle Retail, said: “Arcadia is a vibrant, growing business and the Oracle Merchandising, Planning and Commerce solutions combine to create the ideal platform to support them globally. Already a leader, the Arcadia business is graduating to the next level of omni-channel innovation.”