How At Home Merchandises At Scale
At Home wants to be a national brand and is investing in the technology and people to make its dream a reality. The home décor retailer has a major presence in its native Texas and throughout the South and Midwest, and is executing on an aggressive store expansion plan to capitalize on the popularity of its come-one, come-all approach.
The brick-and-mortar retailer currently operates around 150 stores with the ultimate goal of swelling that number to more than 600. While that kind of expansion goal is certainly impressive in its own right, the fact that At Home stores are typically more than 100,000 square feet and house around 50,000 SKUs makes the massive development plans even more remarkable.
At Home has enjoyed 15 straight quarters of positive comp sale growth thanks to its commitment to everyday low prices and a deep assortment designed to connect with multiple generations. Whether it is a Gen Zer stocking up on basics for their first apartment or a Baby Boomer outfitting their retirement home, At Home has what they need at prices that are often well below the competition.
“Everyday low prices are a huge part of our model,” says Peter Corsa, chief operating officer, At Home. “We provide great value to our customers across our whole SKU assortment. Typically our prices are below the sale price of a lot of our competitors.” Despite its highly competitive pricing structure, “every store that we have makes money. We have industry leading margins and are able to provide value across our whole SKU
To build this diverse and profitable assortment, At Home traditionally relied on Excel-based merchandising efforts. However, it needed a more robust solution and dedicated in-house planning and allocation teams to execute on its aggressive store expansion strategy.
To help pinpoint the ideal software partner and scale its staffing, the retailer turned to Columbus Consulting. Columbus and At Home worked side-by-side reviewing enterprise merchandising technology vendors before ultimately deciding on JDA’s Cloud Services suite to take its allocation and planning efforts to the next level.
“We needed a system that could grow with us,” says Kim Ramsey, VP of merchandise planning, allocation, At Home. “We started with basic usage of JDA and continued to increase capabilities as the team has grown. The solution has many capabilities that we are not using yet, but in a year or two, we are going to need them. It was about putting a solution in place that will fill our long-term needs.”
Part of those long-term needs is providing buyers with the tools to identify new and emerging trends and to make informed inventory bets based on business need. “Each buyer now has a really good financial roadmap,” says Ramsey. “When they are out there travelling and looking at the trends they know what they need to purchase, and the needs of the different departments and categories. It has been a huge help.”