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Charles Tyrwhitt invests in tech ahead of New York store opening

Shirt retailer Charles Tyrwhitt is set to open its fourth New York store in 2015 as it continues its US expansion – and the business is investing in its tech systems to support the international growth strategy.

The UK formalwear business, owned by Nick Wheeler, has undergone a technology revamp in recent months as it looks to add to its growing global portfolio which already includes stores in Chicago, Washington DC and Paris, as well as a dedicated Australian website.

The core of the tech investment centred on a new ERP system based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, delivered by tech vendor K3 Retail, which will be used to manage international sales and centralise business data. The project started in November 2013 and is expected to span a total of 24 months, covering finance, buying & merchandising, retail and call centre operations.

Charles Tyrwhitt CIO Simon Kerry (pictured below) said: "Our biggest challenge is the validation and accuracy of data across the business.

"The existing systems are out-dated, disparate and restrictive. We needed a platform that would enable growth on an international level and drive a better customer experience at the front end, while driving efficiency at the back-end."

Speaking at the recent Retail Symposium in London, which was run by the British Retail Consortium, the company's founder Wheeler said that he expects that his business – which reported revenues of just under £160 million last year – can ultimately grow into a £1 billion retailer.

He suggested that the emergence of online retailing over the last 15 years has provided companies with a significant opportunity to build themselves into global brands. Commenting on international expansion and the importance of tailoring a retail offering to specific markets, he said: "It's the way you sell it; it's how you put your website together and how you put your catalogue together."

Charles Tyrwhitt said it is working with K3 because it believes using the Microsoft Dynamics AX solution will provide a platform for the retailer to grow its international brand further in the coming years.

CIO Kerry remarked: "It can be rolled out to new territories across the world, reducing barriers of entry into new markets with local language, currency and distribution – this is where K3 came in, to support the initiative and drive growth."

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