Maple Lake, the software provider for specialty retailers, has announced that Hobbs, the contemporary British fashion designer and retailer of women's apparel, is to implement its 'out-of-the-box' QuickAssortment planning solution to improve its planning process, enable better financial control and more targeted range assortments for its online, wholesale and store channels. The preconfigured software is expected to be fully implemented within five to six months, instead of the industry norm of approximately two years.
Hobbs' Alison Reupke, Head of Product Merchandising, said: "As we diversify into new channels we need a suitable technology solution to support our business and future growth. We look forward to using this new product and the benefits it will bring to standardising Hobbs' processes."
Mark Stone, CEO at Maple Lake added: "Many retailers still rely on Excel spreadsheets for very complicated buying decisions that can make or break them, so we're delighted that by standardising our planning tools we're able to offer quick-fix solutions."
Improved flexibility and visibility in planning enables companies to tap into the growing trend for constantly changing inventories, as customers are increasingly demanding new products, up-to-the minute styles and fashion-led merchandise. It also gives the ability to shift from slow-selling lines to more popular products, increasing sales and reducing costly over-stocks and markdowns.
The software works by taking sales data from existing systems to automatically produce a 'hierarchy of needs' that identifies the most profitable lines: whether for individual stores, online or international sales channels. Users can see, at the touch of a button, a forecast of stock and sales and the impact of, say, ordering more A-line dresses, or changing a particular supplier. It shows the ideal product mix and volumes before actually buying or allocating to stores, said Stone. Alerts can even flag up anything likely to be a concern, such as low profit margin items, or missed sales due to stock-outs.