Bianco Footwear invests US$91,000 with Geac

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Bianco Footwear, the European designer and retailer of mens and womens shoes, has invested US$91,000 in an end-to-end Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software suite from Geac (TSX: GAC, NASDAQ: GEAC) to help support its rapidly growing retail business and more effectively handle complex collections. Bianco Footwear has a three year plan to grow its number of European stores by 160%, to 300 outlets.

Bianco currently is implementing a PLM solution from RunTime, Geacs specialist division serving the apparel and footwear industry; it is expected to go live in 2005. Core to the solution is Geacs QuestACP (Advanced Collection Planning), QuestPDM (Product Data Management), Quest Workflow and Quest Integration Engine. Geacs suite of design software will integrate with Biancos existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from Microsoft Axapta.

Thomas Schultz Petersen, International Product Manager for Bianco Footwear, said: Our new Geac PLM software will help us particularly in our pre-production activities to generate and adhere to new footwear collections in line with precise and diverse customer needs. The process of managing collections used to be conducted in our heads and supported by a manual spreadsheet system. But with every new market we enter, the complexity of collections grows exponentially. So now that were in nine markets and we have 12 collections a year - together with a number of small express drops - were now looking forward to visualising and automating this difficult process with QuestACP.

He continued: This overall investment will support a critical part of our philosophy: To create a unique franchise concept within the field of fashion and shoes. Our shops are designed to be progressive and forward-thinking - from financial control to the planning of marketing activities, the management of product ranges, logistics and shop support. Our software investment is vital to this end.

Based in Kolding, Denmark, the Bianco Footwear chain was established in 1987 in Denmark. Ten years later it opened its first shop outside Denmark. In recent years it has doubled in size every three years. Now the group has 124 shops in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Poland, Russia and Germany. The company was winner of "The Franchise Company of the Year" in 2004 by Dansk Franchisegiver Forening and the Danish newspaper "Brsen".

Steen W. Poulsen, International Sales & International Business Development Manager for Geac RunTime Nordics, said:

Currently more than 400 of the worlds leading apparel and footwear companies use Geac software to manage their global operations. Footwear brand companies like Bianco have a huge need to co-ordinate their complex global design, manufacturing and supply chain operations and Geac is proving time and time again that it can deliver a compelling end-to-end solution.

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