Retail Assist and Merret to join forces

Retail-only solution and service provider, Retail Assist, has announced that it will acquire award-winning supply chain software provider, Merret, on 1st August 2007. 

This move will enable Retail Assist to further strengthen its offer, providing end-to-end retail applications together with a comprehensive range of platform-independent managed services.

Alan Morris (pictured), Managing Director of Retail Assist, said: Were delighted with this development.  Integrating Merret and Retail Assist means we can provide a fuller service to UK and international retailers and more opportunities for our industry partners.

One of the motivations for this acquisition is Retail Assists belief that the new battleground for retail technology will be the integration of supply chain and merchandising systems. 

Explained Morris: Retailers are turning their attention to supply chain and merchandising and are looking for systems such as Merret.  Easy to implement and simple to use, Merret combines high functionality with an excellent cost of ownership.  We believe that it has the capacity to become a leader in its field.

Whilst the operations are being brought together under the Retail Assist banner, Merret will continue as the brand name for the supply chain solution.

The two businesses are owner-managed, share a similar culture and common clients amongst department store and fashion retailers.  The combined companies headcount will be 100 employees.

The Merret product has achieved exceptional success since its launch in 2001.  No stranger to industry accolades, its most recent win was the 2007 European Retail Solutions Award for 'Best use of e-commerce in a retail environment' in partnership with Fresca and Rubicon Retail.

Nigel Illingworth, currently Managing Director of Merret, will become Retail Assists Product Director.  Morris will continue as the companys Managing Director.

Nigel Illingworth commented: "This is a great match between two successful businesses and we believe our current and future customers can only benefit.  We will continue to make significant investments in the development of Merret.  As well as maintaining the solution on the IBM iSeries platform, we will migrate it to Microsoft .NET.

The new enlarged business will combine:

Managed Services - including 24/7 Help Desk, Applications Support, Technical Services & Operations, Data Centre, Hardware Maintenance, and Disaster Recovery.

Products & Solutions - development, integration, deployment and support of Head Office and Supply Chain systems from merchandising to replenishment and finance.  These will include Merret, Ra-X and selected third-party systems.  Delivery of fully-managed solutions across these areas will come from Retail Assist's in-house Implementation and Support teams.

Morris concluded: "Our aim is to grow the business and offer a broader range of skills and expertise to our clients.  We will expand our applications portfolio and, through integration with our managed services, offer retailers the end-to-end technology solutions that their businesses need to succeed."


About Retail Assist

Combining understanding of retail business needs with industry experience and technical skills, Retail Assist is a UK market leader in providing IT solutions and services that add value to retail operations.  Made-to-measure services are designed to develop, optimise and manage IT functions and to support the entire retail supply chain: from product design to warehousing, from store sales to online retailing.

Whichever business model is in place, from established PLC to owner-managed, a truly collaborative approach sees Retail Assist working closely with a client's business, its personnel, existing systems and other service providers to deliver measurable return on investment.

The company's Nottingham head office is supported by locations in Northampton, Bingham, central London and operations at client sites.  Clients include adams kids, mini mode (Boots), Warehouse, Principles, Oasis, Karen Millen, Whistles, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, New Look, Thresher Group, World Duty Free Europe and Odin Retail.

About Merret

Launched in 2001, Merret is a 'best of breed' supply chain solution that offers retailers an innovative way of managing their operations. It combines a cost-effective packaged solution with an environment that allows for development flexibility. Merret customers include Harvey
Nichols, Burberry, Paperchase, Principles and Warehouse.


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