Case Study Arcadia

Fashion group Arcadia streamlines planning across international and UK businesses after rolling-out TXT MAPLE LAKE technology

  • Case

    Company Background

    The Arcadia Group, which owns the Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Topman, Wallis, Evans, Dorothy Perkins and Outfit brands, boasts a formidable international fashion empire. Arcadia, with annual sales of £2.7bn, is one of the UK's largest privately owned retailers with more than 44,000 employees. It operates a total of around 2,500 stores, with around 700 across 30 markets throughout the world. The owner, Sir Philip Green, said he had invested £113m in the group during the year taking Topshop and Topman to the US, where it now has stores in New York and Chicago as well as a Las Vegas store which opened recently in March. Another is due to open in Los Angeles in February 2013. Arcadia's internet sales went up 27% during the last year. The online retail business continues to be a key focus for the group, both in the UK and abroad. It launched dedicated e-commerce sites in the USA, France and Germany in 2011.

    Supply Chain Challenges

    Planning for such a large scale operation is no mean feat. The retailer has to bring in more than 150 million units from approximately 55 countries around the world, planning what goes on sale many months in advance. Then, from one of four distribution centres in the UK, some 28 million units are rapidly sent out to international stores as widespread as Russia, Japan and Canada - all demanding varying sizes, styles and volumes. It also coordinates the delivery of more than 17 million online orders to approximately 120 countries every year.

    Financial Sense

    One of the benefits of the system is the ability to make more financiallyled decisions. Even concessions are sometimes given only a couple of months of space to prove their numbers.

    Clearly, what's on offer in a major flagship store with over 100 tills and hundreds of ranges is very different to what's to be stocked in a small provincial store. Topshop's London Oxford Street branch, for instance, is so big it takes more stock than some of the smaller brands in totality. "The software provides us with a greater ability to spot anomalies and patterns in trade that otherwise would be overlooked," said Val O'Donnell, Top Shop's Head of Branch Trading, Planning and International. "This means increased flexibility in amending plans and resubmitting them to stores, as well as the ability to plan by floor in our Oxford Circus flagship store. What's more, the tool is similar in style to Excel, which the buying and merchandising teams are used to using."

    Fast Fashion

    To keep up with fast fashion, stock has to be renewed every 4-6 weeks, mainly because of the limited shelf life of apparel and popularity of its products. Everything is purchased from suppliers, with many in the Far East requiring long lead times on deliveries, so planning is required at least a season ahead. Topshop and other Arcadia brands run two seasons a year, but continually need to replenish depleted stock with new lines and replace any potential gaps on the shelves.

    Managing Complexity

    "The TXT MAPLE LAKE technology has been able to support massive planning volumes, with some branch plans having 10-12 million rows of information," said David Hale, Head of Business Systems.

    "Planning systems are very different to other IT systems in their overall complexity," added Hale. "Planning seems to be a bit of a dark art and it's quite a step forward from using Excel." "Quick Assortment from TXT MAPLE LAKE has integrated many essential but administrative elements from a season's planning processes into fast and easy steps, which has contributed to more detailed and justified business decisions," said Craig Sutherland, Top Shop International Merchandiser.

    Upgrading Systems

    The retailer decided to upgrade its planning systems in 2008 due to expiry of licences, as well as the need for a more advanced, unified system across all its brands. The TXT MAPLE LAKE software was rolled-out across all Arcadia's global brands in just under two years. Benefits include the ability to match UK store space to available merchandise at any store, on any brand, and being able to send the numbers direct to the stores themselves.


    Clothing retailer Arcadia Group has completed a roll-out of TXT MAPLE LAKE planning software across all its international and UK divisions to enhance store and channel planning in its high street and growing international businesses. Whether it's financial planning for a massive flagship store in London or New York, or knowing the floor space and how to plan more profitably for new international store openings, the retailer has embraced the new technology to stay at the top of its game.

Customers Speak

"We now have a cohesive, single solution across all brands," said Hale. "Replacing our old systems has been a major step up giving us far more speed and ease of manipulation." Overall, the new system now means far greater flexibility in planning, leading ultimately to a more streamlined business.

David Hale, Head of Business Systems.

The TXT MAPLE LAKE system has provided a streamlined planning process that has reduced manual effort and freed up valuable thinking time.

Sam Hall, International Controller at Arcadia.