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Retail Assist Investment
  • 3 Apr

Retail Assist gains multi-million pound investment for future growth

Leading IT managed services and solutions provider Retail Assist has secured a multi-million pound investment to facilitate its rapid growth strategy to double the size of the business over the next three years.  The deal sees investment from its original founders, private equity investment manager, Foresight Group, and Royal Bank of Scotland. As a retail and hospitality specialist, Retail Assist is providing the IT managed services and software solutions which underpin the success of brands such as Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen, ASOS, Oasis, Coast, Warehouse, Vue Cinemas, Pizza Hut, and Cath Kidston.  To date the company has achieved brilliant success with its impressive growth, customer portfolio, awards heritage, and it has attracted excellent talent, allowing Retail Assist to be in a strong position for future expansion. With a current turnover of £15m Retail Assist provides services and solutions across 66 countries, delivering support in 9 languages, and employs 220 people who have been responsible for the company’s success. Established in 1999, this year sees the business reach its 18th trading anniversary. Foresight Group was founded in 1984 by Bernard Fairman and Peter English and manages assets of £2.3 billion internationally with its headquarters at The Shard, London. Mike Quinn, Investor Director from Foresight Group stated: “Our investment into Retail Assist is an exciting opportunity to work with the highly-regarded Retail Assist team and we are looking forward to expanding their service and solution capabilities and adding to their already strong customer base. We have been impressed by their expertise, professionalism and ambitions for growth.” Under the new investment structure the company shall be led by the current CEO, Dan Smith, and Operational Board, with the addition of Mike Quinn from Foresight Group as Investor Director. Of the founder members from Retail Assist, Alan Morris and Nigel Illingworth will be retained in the business in a consultancy role, and as part of the investment team with Gary Broughton.  They will remain engaged in the business to assist with future development strategy for services and solutions. Dan Smith, CEO at Retail Assist said: “The investment will provide Retail Assist and its employees with a much wider opportunity for growth and progression as it continues to become an even bigger player in the market. At a time when retail and technology are constantly changing the investment brings with it a springboard for growth and the opportunity for expansion, whilst remaining true to the values and approach that Retail Assist engages with its customers.” Alan Morris, one of the founders of Retail Assist, continues: “After 18 years of trading, Retail Assist has come of age. We are very proud of the success Retail Assist has achieved so far.  With the investment backing and the successful foundations already laid, the potential for employees and for the customers it supports is very exciting and will enable Retail Assist to advance its services and solutions even further”.…
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merret supply chain
  • 7 Mar

Morrisons Nutmeg launches women’s collection with Merret

Morrisons Nutmeg gains traction with Merret Retail Assist has supported Morrisons to launch its first ever womenswear collection, under its fashion retail brand Nutmeg. The womenswear range has been introduced after Nutmeg initially launched in 2013 with a range of affordable quality childrenswear, supported by Retail Assist’s supply chain solution, Merret. Within just 3 years, the popularity of the collection made Morrisons one of the top 20 fashion retailers in the UK in 2016. Merret is Retail Assist’s end-to-end supply chain solution, improving retailers’ business performance by maximising the financial potential of their stock inventory. Used by retail brands such as Harvey Nichols, Oasis, Karen Millen, and Whistles, Merret offers complete stock visibility, and real-time stock availability. Morrisons’ introduction of women’s clothes comes in conjunction with a recent technology project by Retail Assist to upgrade its Merret software to the latest version. Morrisons now benefits from a whole range of operational efficiencies, including faster overnight processing, and the ability to interface seamlessly with merchandise planning software. Nutmeg now features in all Morrisons UK stores. Morrisons’ Category Director of Clothing, Christine Bryce, said: “Upgrading to the latest version of Merret has helped take the Nutmeg brand to the next level, as we have debuted our women’s collection in 50 Morrisons stores.” Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, added: “We’re proud to be supporting the Nutmeg label as it bolsters Morrisons’ fashion credentials, and are looking forward to working with the brand on its future strategy.”More information via: https://nutmeg.morrisons.com/…
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International Help Desk
  • 25 Jan

Help Desk Statistics 2017: Infographic

Retail Assist’s IT Help Desk is at the forefront of our business. Working 24 x 7 x 365, and supporting customers in 18 countries across thousands of global locations, our service offering has the industry seal of approval: winning “Best Managed Service Desk” at the IT Service and Support industry’s global awards last year. In our latest annual benchmarking, we’ve made an infographic detailing our key statistics from 2016, and how this compares with industry averages. We’re proud to highlight our headline stats:10% higher achievement of Service Level Agreements, compared with industry average 4 x more sites supported than industry average Double the number of languages spoken than industry average 4 x more support capacity than industry averageOutsourcing your IT Support is not only a cost effective solution, but also means that we can flex and scale with the level of support that you require. Out of hours support? No problem. And if this needs to be extended to 24 x 7, we can grow with you. International Help Desk Services and multilingual call analysts support our customers operating across the globe. You could join a whole host of retail and hospitality brands which are reaping the benefits of increased systems uptime, and reduced disruption to service. As an example of the value we have added to Pizza Hut’s business operations, within two months of outsourcing service desk provision, the number of incidents Pizza Hut experienced were reduced by 30%, as Retail Assist’s Help Desk delivered a first-line fix greater than 90%. Pizza Hut Restaurants are continuing to experience greater systems uptime at the point of service, commenting, “in the two years we’ve worked with Retail Assist, we’ve found them to be efficient and effective, which has resulted in us reaping the benefits of improved service to our operations and reduced disruption to customer service.” (Service Desk Manager). As our statistics show, we’re not just retail specific. A growing number of leading hospitality brands – including restaurants and big coffee chains – are turning to us for IT Support, given the wide range of experience we have in supporting standard PoS solutions, including Micros, Retail-J, Infinity, Simphony, Store 6, and many many more. If you’d like to know more, please contact our team using info@retail-assist.co.uk…
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Retail Project Management
  • 29 Nov

Mint Velvet experiences the benefits of POS replacement project

  November 2016: Mint Velvet, the British luxury womenswear retailer, has revamped its entire store estate with new till hardware, managed and supported by Retail Assist. Across the UK and Ireland, 30 Mint Velvet stores have benefited from the technology refresh for a modernised look and feel, improved functionality and greater cost efficiencies. Mint Velvet came to Retail Assist with a requirement to replace its till systems, back office PCs, and end-of-life software. Within tight timescales of 5 months, the project needed completing before Mint Velvet’s peak trading season. The new hardware was also migrated onto Mint Velvet’s central IT domain, to improve communications and administration between Head Office, and between stores. Retail Assist’s retail Project Management team completed a hardware selection process, till configuration and roll-out, with ongoing support being provided by their award-winning IT Help Desk. The till installations were completed out of hours, causing no disruption to Mint Velvet’s day-to-day trading operations. Retail Assist also managed a team of third party engineers to ensure a slick and effective transition in stores. A strong example of Retail Assist’s continued retail IT support, Mint Velvet’s Regional Operations Manager and Store Managers were recently invited to Head Office for a practical training and feedback session on the new Infinity POS system. Mint Velvet’s Regional Operations Manager, Nicola Soar, commented: “The training day really emphasised the proactive nature of Retail Assist’s unique support model. With any new in-store technology, being able to continue a two-way information stream is essential for our Store Managers to make the most out of their new kit, and have resolved any issues. The team also enjoyed meeting Retail Assist’s Help Desk, to put faces to the names of the support they receive.” Lucy Horne, Head of IT at Mint Velvet added: “The IT and technology project completed by Retail Assist has enabled Mint Velvet to improve IT alignment, and maintain our growth plans with dependable technology and support.” Dan Smith, CEO at Retail Assist, commented: “The POS replacement project demonstrates our unique knowledge of the retail IT systems marketplace and expert ability to implement new technology. We are committed to supporting our customers in whichever way they require.” Mint Velvet also uses Retail Assist’s omnichannel supply chain solution, Merret, installed when the brand started up in 2009.   This article is available to request as a Case Study here. Keep checking our news page for more of our latest retail technology news.…
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Nexpo Retail Technology News
  • 26 Sep

Nexpo launches retailing into the next generation

International fashion house, Karen Millen, launches a retail technology concept store in Shoreditch. In partnership with Retail Assist and a number of emerging tech firms, Nexpo showcases existing technology in Karen Millen stores such as wearable tech for store assistants and payment analytics, as well as a range of the latest technologies coming to market. This includes time-delay mirrors that allow customers to film and share videos of themselves trying on clothes, store heat mapping and RFID tagging garments to help retailers track their stock’s performance. Visitors to the store will have the opportunity to browse and shop the latest Karen Millen collections while testing the state-of-the-art technology, providing rich analytics to help design the ultimate in-store experience. Charlotte Ellis, Customer Director at Karen Millen, said: “It is fantastic to see progressive technology together in this environment with elements of the technology on show in this pop-up already being used in Karen Millen stores. This pop-up brings it all together in one place alongside new tech innovations, helping us create a highly engaging and differentiated client experience. We’re really excited about the potential for this emerging technology as a key part of our continued ambition to a leading accessible luxury fashion brand”. Alex Broxson, Head of Marketing at Retail Assist commented on the event: “Unlike so called ‘stores of the future’ most of the tech featured in the store is being trialled and tested already by retailers across the world. But, it hasn’t yet been introduced all together in one space, providing a singular, seamless customer shopping journey. That’s Nexpo’s critical difference.” Alan Morris, Executive Chairman of Retail Assist, added: “Retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The key to offsetting the trend of falling footfall is twofold: using technology to integrate the store into your omnichannel strategy, and understanding how it performs best in order to increase basket value. Your store could be your biggest untapped source of potential, with opportunities to sell more stock at full price. “The technology showcased at Nexpo will support retailers to achieve higher sales, wider market share and help better understand customers now and in the future.” Nexpo exhibiting technology partners include Enactor, Vista Retail Support, Vodat International, Inovretail, Adyen, DB Pixelhouse and Catalyst. If you require any further information about any of the partners, or any of the technology showcased, get in touch here, or call Alex Broxson on 0115 9042713. To be informed about any of our future events or any other retail technology news, please get in touch with us.…
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Retail Assist Record Financial Results
  • 5 Sep

Retail Assist’s Record Financial Results

Media Release, September 2016: Retail Assist, the global award-winning software and support business which powers some of the biggest names on the high street, has revealed record results driven by growth in sales and customer numbers. Headquartered in Nottingham, the business’s turnover in 2015-16 leapt more than 10 per cent to £15m, with increasing numbers of retail and hospitality clients turning to its technology and services to help deliver sales growth and high-quality customer experience.Retail Assist provides software and technology support services which help clients like retailers and hospitality businesses globally, 24x7x365. The company’s turnover has risen by nearly 50 per cent in the space of only three years and Chief Finance Officer Matthew Proudlove says he expects growth to continue as customers look for centralised support during a period when technological transformation is driving omnichannel sales. “This has been our best ever year and it reflects the sustained commitment we’ve made to invest in good people, great products and consistently high support,” he said. “We are operating in growing markets where technology is, more than ever, central to success in retail and hospitality and we expect to see our strong performance continuing as there are many brands for whom the services we deliver and the way we operate are a very good fit.” Retail Assist employs 220 people at sites in Nottingham, Northampton and London, with most based at its head office on Friar Lane – also the home of its Help Desk operations. Retail Assist works with retail clients such as Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen and ASOS, major hospitality brands including Pizza Hut and cinema chain Vue.Matthew added: “This is a year in which we have delivered a number of key initiatives for our customers, among them a business-critical project for ASOS which will enable them to continue growing as the second largest online retailer. “Similarly, we have helped the Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse websites move on to a new ecommerce platform which will allow them to enhance their customer experience further. “At the same time, there have been a number of significant new client wins and expanded services from existing clients who want us to deliver more of their core support. “There is further growth ahead. Our products have proved themselves in retail but they are transferable to hospitality, an industry which is at an earlier stage in its technological evolution – hence hospitality clients are coming to us to make that step.” Besides its support services, Retail Assist has its own software supply chain solution, Merret, which is designed to give clients a single view of stock across high street/online channels. Retail Assist’s CEO, Dan Smith, explained: “We live in an era when the digital revolution continues to transform retail and hospitality industries. Social media is driving rapid turnarounds in trends and the always-on world is fuelling rising customer expectations in terms of the speed and level of service – both in-store or online. “These represent major opportunities for dynamic retail and hospitality…
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IT services
  • 16 Aug

Retail Assist is a Key Driver of Success for Bidvest Logistics

Retail Assist has worked with Bidvest Logistics for over 5 years, and is thrilled to announce a further 5 year contract extension    Bidvest Logistics, the preferred logistics partner of leading brands within the food, drink and hospitality industry, including Pret A Manger, KFC,  Greene King, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Pizza Express and Zizzi has continued to develop its relationship with Retail Assist through the extension of its IT Managed Services Agreement for a further 5 years. Retail Assist has supported Bidvest since 2011 with managed IT support services, enabling internal IT resources to focus upon the core business and applications, whilst Retail Assist maintains the infrastructure and user systems. Retail Assist helps drive incident volumes down with their single point of contact IT Help Desk, which supports 600 staff members across 7 depot locations. Retail Assist works closely with Bidvest’s internal IT team and third parties to minimise any disruption to critical business operations. Because Bidvest Logistics was so impressed with Retail Assist’s Managed IT and Technical Services, in 2015, a year before contract end, they were contracted for a further 5 years – a real reflection of Bidvest’s confidence in the service. Thanks to 24×7 support from Retail Assist, Bidvest Logistics is reaping the benefits of greater systems uptime, meaning guaranteed services to their customers around the clock; for example, servicing around 12,000 deliveries per week across their customer base. Cindy Howarth, Director of IT at Bidvest Logistics explains: “The selective outsourcing model we have chosen allows the team here to concentrate on our core competencies. Although Bidvest is in the logistics sector, IT is a key driver of our business. Working with a specialist company such as Retail Assist allows Bidvest Logistics to retain a competitive edge by enabling us to be agile and meet the demands of our internal and external customers. “The impact of the IT projects carried out by Retail Assist cannot be understated. For example, since upgrading Bidvest’s servers to the latest technology, our disaster recovery time has gone from 4 hours to just 15 minutes. This has had a very significant impact, and represents just one of many benefits we’re experiencing.” Since virtualising Bidvest’s key server environment in 2013, Retail Assist has continued to advise and support Bidvest Logistics on numerous projects to standardise Bidvest Logistics IT systems across all sites, to improve performance and maximise productivity. In a project to upgrade disk storage for increased systems performance, Bidvest’s warehouse management system, Minster, experienced a 40% decrease in the time taken to complete overnight scheduling, allowing the business to operate 24×7 warehouses due to the vast decrease in system downtime. Retail Assist has further supported Bidvest’s international expansion plans, implementing IT infrastructure and user systems at 3 new depots in Paris, Manchester, and Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. Retail Assist’s shared service model provides a consistency of service delivered across Bidvest’s disparate sites – in the UK and France – meaning that every member of staff receives the same quality support. Retail…
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omnichannel supply chain solution
  • 3 Aug

Harvey Nichols sees benefits of real-time stock availability

Harvey Nichols, the world’s leading luxury retailer, has upgraded their supply chain technology to the latest version of Merret, the end-to-end omnichannel solution developed by Retail Assist. Retailing in an omnichannel world, Harvey Nichols required 24×7 availability of stock across all of its channels, to fully support the relaunch of its website. The software upgrade involved Merret being moved onto a cloud based infrastructure, which facilitated a higher availability of the solution, making the supply chain structure much more resilient and dependable. Harvey Nichols can now retail in real-time, as they experience consumer demand around the clock. The upgrade contract with Retail Assist builds upon an existing relationship with Harvey Nichols, which began in 2004. The project was fully managed end-to-end by Retail Assist’s in-house project managers. Fatima Zada, Director of Technology and Innovation at Harvey Nichols, said: “The Merret upgrade provides much more in terms of scalability, as our international growth trajectory and ecommerce offer goes from strength to strength. Retail Assist facilitated our journey into omnichannel over 10 years ago, and the recent project has created a solid foundation for our growth vision going forward.” Nigel Illingworth, Global Strategy Director at Retail Assist, oversaw the project closely from an operational level: “Harvey Nichols is now experiencing the business benefits of a package solution, one that has moved from a bespoke, localised system to a fully supportable version. The brand is now on our roadmap for future developments, meaning they will always benefit from latest Merret innovations to provide a top quality customer experience.” Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, commented on the successful project completion: “With a global reputation for luxury lifestyle retail, Harvey Nichols needed to make their omnichannel proposition as strong as their brand heritage. We are pleased to see our longstanding relationship with Harvey Nichols develop further, providing them with cutting edge retail technology 12 years after they originally started working with us. The Merret upgrade is testimony to the confidence that the business has in our people and products.” Harvey Nichols has also invested in smart tablet technology with Retail Assist’s in-store inventory solution, Merret Tablet Inventory. Facilitating a more transparent and comprehensive stock view, and therefore enabling order fulfilment in-store via the most efficient and cost effective channel, the solution maximises the sell-through of full price stock. Retail Assist’s new Merret support functions, such as the App Academy, an online training and user support portal, are also now readily available to educate Harvey Nichols on best omnichannel practice. This can result in greater operational efficiency of their retail business processes, maximising profitability. Keep an eye out for more retail technology news from Retail Assist. …
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retail it solutions
  • 1 Aug

Retail Assist launches Nexpo: a pop-up store of the next generation

Leading retail IT specialists, Retail Assist, have announced the launch of Nexpo, a retail technology pop-up store opening in Shoreditch, London, in September 2016.In partnership with international women’s fashion retailer Karen Millen, Retail Assist will showcase a range of innovative in-store technology, demonstrating solutions that are realistic, affordable and easily deployable to your store estate. With a host of cutting edge technology partners, the store will feature customer profiling and in-store analytics, beacons and personalisation, interactive omnichannel experiences and more, all available to test and experience on free guided tours. Nexpo will be hosted at Hoxton Arches, London, from Wednesday 21st to Friday 23rd September 2016. With the opportunity to network with other retailers on pop-up store tours, running twice daily, guests are registering to be taken on a journey of the achievable future customer experience. Alex Broxson, Head of Marketing at Retail Assist commented on the event: “Unlike so called ‘stores of the future’ most of the tech featured in the store is being trialled and tested already by retailers across the world. But, it hasn’t yet been introduced all together in one space, providing a singular, seamless customer shopping journey. That’s Nexpo’s critical difference.” Alan Morris, Executive Chairman of Retail Assist, added: “Retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The key to offsetting the trend of falling footfall is twofold: using technology to integrate the store into your omnichannel strategy, and understanding how it performs best in order to increase basket value. Your store could be your biggest untapped source of potential, with opportunities to sell more stock at full price. “The technology showcased at Nexpo will support retailers to achieve higher sales, wider market share and help better understand customers now and in the future.” Favouring an experimental and realistic experience over the demo versions usually shown at tech Expos, Nexpo features three areas:Customer Experience – a seamless end-to-end omnichannel experience, with the ability to browse, shop and experience all channels whilst in-store. Store Operation – the innovative technology underpinning the store’s performance, from inventory management, to high-value payments, and atmospherics. Analytics – continual assessment of store performance for making business recommendations based on the store experience.Nexpo technology partners include Enactor, Vista Retail Support, Vodat International, Inovretail, Adyen, DB Pixelhouse and Catalyst. Nexpo tour bookings are required to attend the event. Reserve your exclusive free space at www.retail-assist.co.uk/nexpo…
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  • 12 Jul

New structure builds foundations for further growth at Retail Assist

Julian Woodall – HR Director; Dave Roberts – Managed Services Director; Dan Smith – CEO; Matthew Proudlove – CFO; Hazel Olivier – Solutions Director; Renato Pastorino – Client Director. A MIDLANDS business whose IT software and support are used by some of the biggest names in retail and hospitality is gearing up for growth with a new management structure. Retail Assist provides technology, support and expertise which ensures that retailers and well-known hospitality brands can meet customer demand in-store and online. Currently on course for its most successful trading year, the business has now set up a new Operational Board which has seen key staff step up to take on new responsibilities. The move has also seen a new face join the business – people development expert Julian Woodall, who becomes HR Director at Retail Assist. The Operational Board will complement Retail Assist’s Main Board, which is led by Chairman Alan Morris, CEO Dan Smith and CFO Matthew Proudlove. While the Main Board will focus on the long-term strategy of the business, the Operational Board has responsibility for day-to-day delivery. Explaining the new structure, Dan Smith said: “We’re going through an exciting transformation that comes with being an organisation that has grown from a small Nottingham and Northampton company into a multi-site business which underpins the IT operations of some of the biggest brands in retail and hospitality internationally. “The business is performing brilliantly, securing some very high-profile new clients and winning global accolades for the customer service that lies at the heart of what we do. The new structure will help us to capitalise on that growth and move on to the next level.” Retail Assist employs more than 90 people at its headquarters on Friar Lane, Nottingham, while a further 80 people are based at two sites in Northampton – an application centre on the Moulton Park Industrial Estate and a Data Centre nearby on Westleigh Office Park. The business develops and provides global software solutions and round-the-clock IT support services which enable clients like Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen and ASOS  to meet customer demand in an era known as omnichannel – where sales can be in-store, online or click-and-collect. The IT support which it provides is acknowledged to be the best in the industry, its Help Desk having won the Best Managed Service Desk Award at this year‘s Service Desk Institute’s annual awards – a benchmark of global performance. Julian Woodall’s arrival at Retail Assist marks the start of a push to help its team enhance skills and assume responsibilities which will enable the business to explore new opportunities. Julian, whose experience includes senior roles with major retail and financial services organisations, said: “Retail Assist is in a strong position to progress because it is beginning this journey with the right culture – the people who work here, the service they deliver and the environment they operate in are already very good, as the awards testify. “But as a business, we’re ready to move on to the…
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