Providing 'coast to coast' support
Nottinghamshire-based retail IT services specialists Retail Assist have clinched a substantial contract with High Street fashion retailer Oasis.
Oasis has appointed Retail Assist to support the conversion of all product data for the Coast brand, in order to provide a common merchandising system going forward for both brands.
The Coast brand currently operates on a separate Merchandise Management system, which supports trading activity across a mainly concessions-based operation of 45 outlets in the UK and Ireland. Oasis, on the other hand, operates the "Mercatus" Merchandise Management System, supplied by retail software solutions company, NSB.
Oasis acquired Coast in 1998, the objective of the acquisition being to satisfy a segment of the women's fashion market that Oasis could not stretch to, and therefore to increase overall market share without cannibalisation.
The Coast brand has been realigned since its acquisition to occupy a more commercial and sustainable positioning in the womenswear market. This has meant establishing a differentiated fashion offer for an older, sophisticated woman who is prepared to pay for design, fit and quality.
Given the success of the brand's repositioning, it is now embarking on a major expansion of the Coast business - hence the need to move to a single platform system.
Working closely alongside NSB and Oasis's own internal IT team, Retail Assist will migrate Coast's product data over to the Oasis Merchandising system, while still enabling products from each label to be easily differentiated for ordering, tracking, replenishment and sales analysis purposes.
The new contract reaffirms Retail Assist's prowess in providing IT services to the retailing sector, with major retailers Adams, New Look and Burberry, also amongst the company's prestigious client list.
Retail Assist Projects Director Nigel Illingworth commented: "This contract poses very particular challenges as we are required to integrate two existing in situ systems while still retaining the facility for staff to differentiate between the two brands involved.
"It is a testament to the abilities of our in-house team that they have devised a methodology which can achieve this, and be implemented well within agreed timescales and budgetary parameters."
Mike Padfield, IT Development Manager at Oasis added, "Quite simply, using Retail Assist in this way has provided Oasis and Coast with the relevant targeted resource when we needed it.
"There are definite benefits using "Selective Out-tasking" over employing contract staff, since we are able to hand over the complete requirement. This means that we do not have the additional overheads of running the project internally alongside the development."