Britain's Arcadia Group Ltd., owner of chains such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, will spend 50 million pounds, or more than $83 million at current exchange, on new technology through 2017 to support its accelerating international and omnichannel expansion.
The tech program, expected to be disclosed today, is in large part to develop global inventory and warehouse systems, boost speed-to-market capabilities, merchandise and meet consumer demand better and localize assortments with enhanced product information, WWD has learned.
Arcadia has 2,507 owned stores and 600 franchised outlets in 38 countries and conducts online business in about 110 countries. This year, 161 store openings are seen.
“Our brands are committed to delivering an interactive, exciting and efficient shopping experience to all our customers around the world, no matter which channel they choose to use to visit us, from flagship stores to mobile devices,” said Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group. “Global expansion is a key strategic focus for Arcadia, and to do this successfully, we need to make sure the best merchandise assortment is available in each store and channel.”
“It needs to be a business-led program. It can’t be an IT-led program,” stressed Siobhan Forey, Arcadia’s chief operating officer for human resources and operations. She said Arcadia is partnering with Oracle, Manhattan Associates and Amber Road to build the technology infrastructure needed to manage the complexities of growing international and online expansions, widening product range and heightening consumer expectations spurred by digital growth.
In the U.S., Topshop-Topman has four flagships and is opening five more over six to 12 months beginning in the fall, including a 40,000-square-foot flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, the brands’ second-largest store behind the 90,000-square-foot Oxford Street site in London. The other flagships are opening in San Diego, Washington, Houston and Atlanta. Meanwhile, Topshop-Topman shops are proliferating inside Nordstrom, with another 10 to 15 expected to be added to the current 60 over the coming months. Eleven Topshop-Topman concessions recently opened in several European department stores in Europe, in Galeries Lafayette, De Bijenkorf, Karstadt and KaDeWe. Arcadia also introduced Topshop to Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
The BHS, Burton, Evans, Wallis and Outfit brands are part of the Arcadia portfolio as well.
Executives are talking with franchise partners about entering new territories, including parts of Southeast Asia, South America and South Africa, as well as further expansion in Europe. Arcadia franchises around the world, except in the U.K. and America, where stores are owned.
Arcadia is also developing distribution centers, which officials refer to as “hubs,” such as Singapore, and possibly on the West Coast of the U.S., to support the e-commerce business and to ship locally. Currently, Arcadia utilizes a small warehouse in New Jersey for its U.S. distribution. “We are looking at other routes to fulfillment as well,” Forey said, citing the possibility of third-party arrangements.
On the omnichannel front, Arcadia in the U.K. provides a “click and collect” service enabling shoppers to buy online and pick up their orders in the stores. In the near future, Arcadia wants to add fulfillment capabilities at stores, and mobile payment in the stores. “It’s all on the road map to deliver over the next 18 months to two years,” said Forey.
Oracle will provide merchandise financial planning, assortment planning, size profiling and optimization systems. It’s a full suite of retail business applications so that supply chains are managed better, inventory control gets tighter, core merchandising is improved and so Arcadia can track sales and fashion trends better and learn more about what sizes are needed in the stores, on an individual basis, rather than by country.
According to Green, Oracle will enable Arcadia to “romance the customer” and intensify efforts to put up flagships and grow the online business.
With factories around the world and a complex, fast-moving supply chain — 250 fresh styles arrive to Topshop stores each week — software helps to understand where items are and how to expedite them to the stores. Oracle will also support Arcadia’s “click and collect” service and eventually, order in-store for an item not stocked on the shelf, and have it delivered.
Manhattan Associates’ supply chain commerce solutions will replace Arcadia’s legacy technologies and integrate with the retailer’s other enterprise systems. “The Manhattan solutions will help us streamline operational processes within our distribution centers and provide us with improved visibility of both inventory and data across our supply chain operations,” said Alda Andreotti, Arcadia’s supply chain director. “They will help support new routes to market as we build our e-commerce and multichannel capabilities, and expand internationally. A more flexible fulfilment approach and the improved service levels will help us strengthen loyalty and customer relationships, which in turn will help drive revenue and profitability.”
Amber Road will provide an integrated global trade management suite of technology. Arcadia plans to automate key import and export activities, for greater supply chain visibility. The technology is geared to optimize global sourcing decisions, provide easy access to country-specific import and export regulations, improve visibility over orders and track international shipments. The solution will be implemented worldwide.
Forey said the three “strands” of the new technology program are of “vital importance,” adding, “We will have improved productivity, improved stock accuracy, better planning, reporting and controls. We will have one system which has total global stock visibility, and we will have a reduction in terms of end-to-end costs, and reduction in lead times.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty