Fat Face Case Study

fat face retail

Company Background

Fat Face, the UK lifestyle clothing brand, has implemented TXT Retail’s merchandise and assortment planning solution to support its fast-growing retail enterprise. The software allows the retailer to optimise assortments across multiple categories and channels.

Having started in 1988 as a business selling t-shirts and sweatshirts in the Alps, the retailer now sells a wide range of womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, footwear and accessories.

It currently has 212 stores in the UK and Ireland, with plans to open more in 2015, notably in North America, where it recently launched a dedicated website.

Fat Face has a fairly diverse store portfolio – ranging from stores on the beach, or in the mountains, to larger, city centre stores and shops located at busy travel hubs like train stations and airports. The company also has a significant wholesale business, including concessions in John Lewis department stores.

The Challenge

Our e-commerce business is growing fast; but online ultimately requires a different mix of products to a traditional store layout and poses new challenges both in terms of planning and logistics,” said Nick Stevenson, head of merchandising at Fat Face.

“In stores, what sells on the beach is very different to what’s needed in an urban shopping centre,” he added.

Before implementing TXT Retail, Fat Face relied on a variety of different planning processes which were becoming more and more complicated to manage across the business.

“With the business expanding and becoming more multi-channel, it soon came to light that handling all our merchandising and buying processes on spreadsheets was no longer suitable for making fairly critical business decisions.”

Why TXT?

“TXT Retail’s approach and the way the solution works fitted perfectly with our internal processes and where we wanted to go,” said Stevenson.

“We didn’t have to teach people a completely new way of doing things. The solution is very intuitive and logically set out for efficiently managing the planning process.”

The Solution

TXT Retail’s merchandise and assortment planning solution provides Fat Face with a collaborative planning environment that balances strategic goals with merchandise plans to identify ideal product mixes and volumes.

-Simplify merchandise planning process across multiple channels
-Improve data integrity and analysis
-More powerful store assortment
-A single version of the truth
 -TXT Merchandise and Assortment Planning Solution
-More tailored offer for customers
-More accurate and reliable data for making important buying decisions
-Streamlined process and reduced workload
The system plans ranges tailored to customers, depending on a particular store’s profile and available space.
“Our biggest stores might have a hundred bays to be stocked, whereas the smallest stores only eighteen,” said Stevenson. “A great benefit provided by the system is that it

fat face 2

allows us to plan ranges taking into account that variety.”
Around 60 people across the business – buyers, merchandisers, finance, ecommerce, store managers, visual merchandisers – regularly use the software.
A season ahead, the software is initially used to construct high-level financial plans. Next, based on analysing historical data and knowing what typically sells, where, and when, these objectives are automatically broken down into weekly stock, profit and sales targets.
Finally, the Assortment Planning software builds a detailed plan of what every store, or channel, should stock and how many of every item to buy.
The Benefits
Assortment plans are now specific to each store grade. This, said Stevenson, was very difficult to do without dedicated software.

“TXT Retail’s software gives us greater visibility and foresight in the planning process, helping us always provide a consistent product assortment across a growing business, no matter which channel the customer is using.”

Now, a store can be graded at a lower level of detail, so if, for example, it’s a good swimwear store, it’ll automatically get more swimwear. The offer can be tailored by store profile, available space and geographical area.

Moreover, Stevenson said, they now have all the data in one place: data is accurate, while everything is linked across the business. Everyone benefits from one version of the truth.

“It’s much more secure and also better from an auditing and data management point of view.”

Automation, and the overall improved access to more data, has also significantly reduced the amount of manual number crunching and repetitive data entry. This has had positive knock-on effects for reducing workload and freeing up people’s time for decision-making.

“Retailing is getting more and more complicated, a lot more multi-channel, and more competitive too,” he added.

Ultimately, Stevenson said he wanted to simplify things as much as possible in a more complicated retail environment, taking into account all the UK store, international, online, mobile, wholesale and concessions businesses too.

“There are a lot of solutions out there that are extremely complex; with TXT Retail we kept things simple, yet powerful and efficient,” he concluded.

“TXT Retail consultants were quick to understand our needs and to turn our challenges and requirements into solutions.”

“With TXT, we can make better business decisions for more profit across a wide range of products and sales channels,” said Nick Stevenson, head of merchandising at Fat Face.

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