Athletic Retailer Nears Finish Line on Assortment Strategy Upgrade

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Athletic Retailer Nears Finish Line on Assortment Strategy Upgrade


Athletic shoe and apparel retailer Finish Line is designing and testing business processes for its new merchandise financial planning and assortment strategy solutions.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Finish Line has approximately 950 locations, primarily in U.S. malls and Macy’s department stores, along with and a presence on To better manage planning for the multi-channel athletic apparel and footwear business, Finish Line needed to deploy new business processes and technologies to replace their existing spreadsheet solutions. Finish Line has selected Columbus Consulting International to advise the retailer throughout the two-phase project.

“We hit the ground running with the implementation of the new technology solutions here at Finish Line, and we are taking important steps to update our merchandising processes,” said Brad Eckhart, SVP, planning and allocation, Finish Line. “Columbus Consulting’s unmatched experience in the industry and familiarity with the technology plays a critical role in our success as we move away from our current spreadsheet solutions and evolve Finish Line’s technology capabilities. The implementation of a merchandise financial planning system is the first step in a multi-phased merchandising systems roadmap.”

The first phase of the two-stage project, completed this past October, encompassed all aspects of merchandise financial planning, including strategic planning, preseason financial planning, in-season forecasting and open-to-buy management. Upgrading these solutions and processes centralizes data and provides Finish Line with one version of the truth, enabling better communication across the organization.  

The second phase of the project, scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2018, includes store planning and grading, key item planning and assortment strategy. These new capabilities will allow Finish Line to plan deeper in assortment, better control logistics and profitability, increase visibility across the business, and improve its merchandise presentation and assortment across stores.

“Ultimately these technology improvements and new processes will sharpen Finish Line’s focus on our customers and lay the foundation for our ultimate goal of assortment plans by location.” said Eckhart.