Lulu Guinness laying foundations for further global growth

British designer fashion label Lulu Guinness is eying further international growth following a seemingly successful new retail systems implementation last year.

Having gone live with the Futura retail solution across its UK and Ireland estate, which includes stores on London's Ellis Street, Burlington Arcade and The Royal Exchange, as well as outlet malls at Cheshire Oaks and Bicester Village, and an outlet store at Kildare Village near Dublin, the business's managing director Paul Spinks has said there are new global wholesaling opportunities to pursue.

Lulu Guinness operates its direct retail business primarily in the UK, but it also has a New York branch, and a burgeoning wholesale business that supports its sales in major department stores across the world. Overseas, the company has a growing number of wholesale franchise partners with stores in New York, Tokyo, Osaka and Bangkok, but is looking to China, Dubai and Taipei for further store openings.

With online now accounting for around 20% of the retailer's sales and warehouse operations running in the UK, the US and Hong Kong, Lulu Guinness opted for Futura's retail solutions to help bring all of these divisions together as it aims to gain a single view of stock and business performance.

"It is sometimes not fully appreciated how big an issue integration can be for any retail brand," explained Spinks.

"There are lots of good systems out there for running different aspects of the business, from accounting to eCommerce to warehouse systems, but they all need to link and talk to each other."

Head office systems provided by the Futura retail management solution cover the core processes – from merchandise planning and purchase order management, to allocations and replenishment, as well as management reporting. Meanwhile, web services implemented by the retail technology company have linked together the head office, warehousing and the Magento eCommerce system behind the new Lulu Guinness website.

"Warehouse integration is extremely important for us – essential for driving and supporting our growing wholesale opportunities globally," added Spinks.

"Stock management here and the single 360-degree view of the business that Futura affords are crucial. Futura is effectively the master system which everything else feeds off."

Lulu Guinness's work with Futura has also resulted in a reduction of manual processes, with the new system now linked to the business's CRM system, Wyvern Magic, which provides automated customer data capture online and in-store. There has also been a link created to the retailer's Sage accounting system.

Spinks commented: "We have a solid, process driven business and a robust solution delivering massive confidence and, from a process point of view, allows us much more time to reflect, review and improve how we operate."

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