Retail giant Myer has flagged plans to centralise its back-office systems further in what it today described as a "store of the future" initiative.
"We have identified opportunities to significantly enhance
efficiency in stores and their back offices, and a multi-year
program known as the Store of the Future has begun," the company
said in its annual results session today.
The idea behind the project is to move functions and
equipment which would normally reside in individual stores' back offices, such as
printers, telephones, workers' compensation and lay-by management, to a
"A lot of those things which were previously done by a fairly
large team out the back and required the space can now be done
either centrally or automatically," Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said this morning.
Myer has been involved in a major IT rejuvenation for the last
28 months. This year saw the company finally
detach itself from former parent Coles' IT grip and settle into a new five-year
outsourcing deal with IBM.
The department store chain has also rolled out its $99 million
Mymerch system, which allows Myer's distribution centre network
to order goods from suppliers based on daily, as opposed to weekly,
stock on-hand data, as well as new IT systems for the distribution
centres and wireless technology to help with actions such as
Mymerch has already left its mark, playing a part in a drastic
reduction of storage space, moving the percentage of front of house
selling space from around 60 per cent in some stores to 80 or 85
"It's all about taking the area out the back [and] putting it
out the front," Brookes said. In Sydney
alone, the company has added around 3,300 square metres of trading
space, he said.
Apart from making in-roads on the store of the future program,
the company hoped also to move on with the introduction of a new
point-of-sale system to replace the former over 20-year-old
one. The renewal has been slightly delayed, according to the
company, but has been scheduled for completion within the next 22
months. A new CCTV system has also been flagged for the same period.