Growth Opportunity

While many of the same sociological and demographic conditions that led to the rise of big-box retailers in the U.S. exist in Canada, the power center trend has developed more slowly there.

Peter Gerhardt, CFO of Town Shoes Limited, noticed the success of big-box retailers in the United States during the early 1990's and saw an opportunity for growth. "I knew it was a matter of time before big-box retailers came to Canada," says Gerhardt.

The Town Shoes enterprise expanded from a mall-based operation to include a power center based big-box operation. Along with a change in mindset, Town Shoes also had to modify its infrastructure to support this large-scale project. The new venture, The Shoe Company, required Town Shoes to modify its existing merchandising system.

The retailer's rapidly changing product mix required an independent, open platform. Based on these needs, Town Shoes chose the Jesta I.S. Vision Merchandising solution, which Gerhardt calls "the logical choice for Town Shoes."

The Jesta application helped the retailer address its largest concerns in the expansion €” inventory management and replenishment. Exception-based reporting capabilities allow the retailer to focus on critical statistical information at various levels of the merchandising hierarchy to anticipate and react to areas requiring attention.

The graphical n-tier application is built on an Oracle database, enabling the retailer to easily integrate it into its existing platform. The merchandising solution also allows the retailer to work with the WMS interface and the ODBC interface, providing access to a Business Objects reporting tool.

Town Shoes was able to optimize sales, redistribute merchandise and equalize stock-to-end sales ratios with the solution's stock balancing function, which recommends transfers based on the retailer's user-defined and statistical criteria. It has also benefited from the stock replenishment module within the system, which automatically plans, monitors and allocates stock based on forecasts and triggers.

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