White Stuff is close to completing the roll-out of a broadband wide area network (WAN) from Vodat.

The WAN will allow the retailer to communicate with all stores via a new intranet accessed by back-office PCs.

White Stuff head of IT Venn Luscombe-Mahoney said: “We currently use the Prologic network for our EPoS system, but this didn’t allow us to have a fully functional back-office solution. We also needed a fully managed service that would be very cost effective.”

The project started 18 months ago with a pilot for communications to a couple of stores, which Luscombe-Mahoney said worked extremely well. Vodat also connected the retailer’s Leicester distribution centre to its head office using the network.

Since then, all new stores have been connected to the network and it should be rolled out to all other stores by next week.

White Stuff hopes to use the WAN for other applications. For instance, it is testing thermal imaging cameras for store footfall counting at its Spitalfields store in east London.

Luscombe-Mahoney said: “We are building a reporting service at head office. Store managers will be able to see real-time reports on their store’s performance, such as footfall and conversion rates. This will help identify staff training needs and quiet times in stores, which will identify time windows that could be good for shopfitting and deliveries.”

Other uses could include better multichannel integration, so that it can distribute the music played in each store, and linking all stores to the VoIP-enabled telephony system running at its head office. This could lead to a saving of 75 per cent on call costs, according to Luscombe-Mahoney.

White Stuff is now considering working with Prologic and Vodat to streamline its communications further and run its transaction processing and back-office traffic over a single network.

Luscombe-Mahoney added that Vodat’s network is PCI compliant and transaction data could be separated within the network and routed to Prologic with no loss of speed compared with the existing arrangement.