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High street retailer selects Cegid's store management solutions
18
Aug '09
UK high street retailer, Past Times, specialises in developing and selling quality products inspired by important design periods throughout history. The speciality retailer sells a variety of exclusive products, ranging from household accessories and jewellery to gifts, toys, clothes, books, DVDs and other memorabilia to conjure up past decades. Past Times, founded in 1986 as a mail order company, opened its first store in Oxford in June 1987.

Since then it has opened over 100 high street and outlet stores throughout the UK and Ireland. Past Times also sells its merchandise online, giving a combined annual turnover of £40 million.

System to support store expansion-
In order to support its growing UK store network, Past Times needed a robust point-of-sale and head office solution, with proven ability to manage the specific requirements of speciality retailing. It also wanted a reliable software partner able to supply the latest technologies, today and in the future.

Past Times selected Cegid's Colombus Enterprise head office and Colombus Retail store management solutions to help run its entire retail store network and manage the interface between the stores and its existing head office applications. “One of the main drivers for needing a new point of sale solution was because the old system didn't support Chip & PIN and was proving too costly and unreliable to run,” says Simon Watson, Senior Business Analyst at Past Times.

“Also key to the decision for implementing Colombus was comprehensive and powerful reporting for rapid and informed decision-making and effective pricing and promotions management,” continues Watson.

Past Times is reliant on the accuracy of the store sales data to avoid carrying too much stock – an important consideration in retailing, particularly when selling a lot of memorabilia items, and especially important in the current economic climate, when handling too much unnecessary stock can prove a costly business. It was aware that margins were being eroded by occasionally selling products with the wrong label, or at the wrong price.

Rapid Implementation-
Following a rapid implementation of Colombus at the Past Times head-office at Witney in Oxfordshire, 102 stores were then each, one after the other, fully installed with touch-screens and new PC base units. Store staff were trained to use the software all on the same day. This was only possible outside of peak trading times (so avoiding Friday's and weekends altogether), with no possible downtime to the system allowed. This avoided any disruption to sales and store operations.





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