AW Lab (part of Bata Group)

Case Study AW Lab (part of Bata Group)

The sportswear retailer wins the Millennial customer with lifestyle strategy and customer-centric assortments

  • Case

    Company Profile

    AW Lab, the international ‘sport-style’ retailer part of the Bata Group, has further improved assortment accuracy after implementing an End-to-End Merchandise Lifecycle Management solution using TXTPlanning.

    With the motto ‘Play with Style’, AW Lab operates through 170 direct and franchise stores across Italy and Spain and a growing online presence. Eighty percent of AW Lab’s business is footwear – featuring brands such as Adidas, Nike, Converse - the remaining 20% is apparel and accessories with an important role played by the private labels Down Up and Two Of A Kind.

    AW Lab customers are ‘youthful girls and guys, fashion and style sensitive’. “We want to talk to the millennials,” explained Giuseppe Nisi, Merchandise Manager at AW Lab. “They know what they like, they want to collect experiences more than goods, they love brands that express innovation and can bring them exclusive products.”
    By 2020 the company plans to expand across 5 European countries, evolve from being a sneaker retailer to a style retailer, and ultimately achieve state-of-the-art merchandising, buying, designing and full omni-channel capability.
    AW Lab is the youngest of a larger family: the renowned footwear retailer Bata, present in 100 countries with over 5000 stores.
    “Bata has successfully implemented TXT all across the Group,” Nisi remarked. “Being part of such a large organization is extremely important, it allows us to act locally but to think big.”

    The challenge

    “The sports lifestyle market in southern Europe has been growing year after year and big competitors from northern Europe have seen the opportunity to expand to the south. As well, fast-fashion retailers have increased their range of sneakers which makes competition fierce,” stated Nisi. AW Lab has made innovation its differentiator in the marketplace. The company refreshes assortments and shop windows weekly to continually ‘tell new stories to their customers’.
    “To support this vision and get great results, we needed big plans,” Nisi added. The company has undertaken a project called ‘from Consumer to shelf’ which relies on the TXTPlanning solution leveraging the TXT AgileFit implementation methodology. Objectives of the project include:
    • More accurate customer-centric assortments
    • Diffusion of best business practices
    • Improved collaboration
    • Inventory Optimization through Replenishment with a strong focus on larger stores
    • Better control of sales/markdowns

    The solution

    TXTPlanning supports AW Lab throughout the Merchandise Lifecycle, from strategy to customer. What is crucial about the project, observed Marcello Pinato, Product Merchandise Manager at AW Lab, is that by implementing TXT they were able to ‘divide’ and fully support the processes of pre-season and in-season planning. “AW Lab works largely with brands and most of our budget is spent in the buying phase, 9 months before the season,” explained Pinato. “This means the pre-season planning process is critical to us. Still, with our own brand growing, we are placing increased emphasis on in-season planning and the ability to react fast to real demand at any point in the business cycle, from replenishment up to development and design.”

    TXTPlanning supports AW Lab in generating the pre-season sales plan which combines the knowledge coming from the stores with the experience from product departments. Based on these inputs, the range plan is generated which defines the assortment targets by store grade. The assortment plan is then refined both at a country and channel level. “This is key because in sportswear particularly, the percentage of products and brands you will sell by country are very different; and the same applies when you compare the web with the retail chain. What sells online differs significantly from what sells in our direct or stores or franchisees,” commented Pinato.

    In season, TXTPlanning further supports the replenishment department and allocators in fulfilling stores needs and identifying the products that need reordering.
    “TXT helps us answer 3 main questions: where to sell the product, how to sell the product, and what is our stock position in the network to quickly respond to market demand,” added Pinato.

    As part of the implementation process, AW Lab reengineered its internal process and organization to increase communication between merchandising, buying, marketing and logistics.
    “We used the merchandising calendar from TXTPlanning as a backbone and created an AW Lab calendar with clear timelines and responsibilities. This has improved visibility on key strategic decisions, collaboration across functions, and has increased the responsiveness of the process as a whole. TXT has turned out to be a great enabler for organizational change,” stated Nisi.

  • The Benefits

    Before implementing TXT Retail, AW Lab was relying on spreadsheets for planning which meant cumbersome processes and long hours spent consolidating multiple files with various formats and versions. “With TXTPlanning, the front-end of the software is still Excel, but behind a familiar interface, we can leverage the full power of a sophisticated tool. The process is shared and standardized and we all work with the same formulas and the same KPIs. Additionally, data is in synch so we don’t need to worry about integrating different versions of the plan. This is key considering the tight timelines we work with, and that a planner manages up to 4-5 collections and seasons per day and a massive amount of data,” added Pinato. With a single version of the truth and an integrated collaborative process, benefits include more accurate customer-centric assortments and reduced inventory costs across the chain. The process flow and design of the solution is standardized with Bata’s other businesses. Pinato concluded: “With the same tool implemented by applying the AgileFit deployment methodology, we were able to satisfy the needs of two different chains in the market, one is AW Lab, a sportswear retailer that works predominantly with brands, the other is Bata, where 80% of products are inhouse designed and developed. This was a great achievement, made possible by the unique flexibility of the TXT solution.”


  • Customer-centric assortments
  • An end-to-end planning process
  • Optimization of inventories
  • Collaboration at all levels
  • Better control over sales and markdowns

The TXT Solution

  • TXTPlanning and the AgileFit deployment methodology


  • Tailored assortments and balanced collections
  • Less stocks along the chain
  • Effective collaboration among functions
  • More visibility on strategic decisions
  • Process responsiveness

Customers Speak

“With the same tool and by applying the AgileFit deployment methodology, we were able to satisfy the needs of two different chains and business models: AW Lab and Bata. This was a great achievement, made possible by the unique flexibility of the TXT solution.”

Marcello Pinato, Product Merchandise Manager at AW Lab