DSW Enhances IT Systems

DSW, the designer shoe warehouse, has continued its stream of success since 2011. For the second quarter of 2012, ended July 28, 2012, net sales increased 7.5% to $512.2 million versus $476.3 million in the same quarter last year. The retailer's growth is greatly due to its IT enhancements, investment in recruiting management tools and expansion of its store base.
DSW is enhancing its point-of-sale system to improve the customer experience and reduce fraudulent returns. As part of the initiative, the retailer with also make strides on its omni-channel front. Currently, in-store customers can buy from stores, e-commerce stores can buy from dot.com, and through the Shoephoria system in-store customers can purchase styles or sizes through the fulfillment center. By the end of 2013, DSW will allow in-store customers to purchase items from other stores. Once this capability is complete and efficient, the retailer will open up in-store inventories to dot.com customers as well.
The retailer is also in the beginning stages of an assortment planning system that will allow it to build assortments on a bottom-up basis by store based on each store's customer preferences. This initiative is expected to take two years to complete.
In July, the retailer implemented an automated recruiting management and candidate assessment tool, called RMCA. This has automated the associate application process and uses its historical intelligence to prioritize candidates based on their likely success in the DSW environment. It will also reduce administrative time spent by store managers in the hiring process, allowing consideration of fewer but better qualified candidates for associate positions.
DSW has fully implemented the size optimization system that will enable the creation of store size packs that conform to customer size profiles by location. The benefits of this capability include fewer missed sales and reduced markdowns due to reduction of size imbalances by store. The benefits of this initiative are expected to show in 2013.
Modifications to DSW.com have been made to create specialized tabs to specifically highlight athletic footwear and a seasonal selection that will highlight boots in the fall and sandals in the spring. This update also includes an enhanced product search tool that delivers faster results with more relevancy.
The retailer also expects to open 39 new stores during fiscal 2012, covering all major geographic regions with a moderate concentration in the northeast.
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