Business Challenge Mark's Work Wearhouse is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Tire Corporation, operating 321 stores throughout Canada. Mark's specializes in ready-to-wear apparel and business casual attire. Growing very rapidly in the past eight years, it has more than doubled its revenue and number of stores. Saddled with a rigid legacy point-of-sale (POS) system and high cost structure, Mark's Work Wearhouse needed a scalable POS solution capable of reducing costs and improving customer service, while supporting the company's accelerated expansion plans.

"Managing costs is very important for any organization," said Robin Lynas, Chief Information Officer for Mark's Work Wearhouse. "In retail IT, however, it is critical. Retail is a tough industry, and our margins are under more pressure than in other industries, requiring us to be very diligent in evaluating how we spend our IT dollars. We need to reduce costs and deliver benefits to our stores whenever possible."

The Customer

Industry: Retail, Specialty�Business Casual
Headquarters: Alberta, Canada
Number of Stores: 320+
Annual Sales: $465 million

Oracle Retail Products

► Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale

Major Benefits Achieved

► Reduced point-of-sale (POS) operating costs by 50%
► Reduced new store opening costs by 30%
► Accelerated in-store training by 50%
► Reduced overall help desk inquiries by 25%

What Did Oracle Retail Do?

Mark's Work Wearhouse's legacy POS system was very stable. However, it required a significant cost structure to support it-- primarily through the use of AS/400 servers in every store to ensure maximum up time, a must in any retail POS environment. Lynas saw an opportunity to improve store operations while lowering its cost structure by leveraging a new technology in the store. A new POS system powered by Java would reduce store technology costs while maintaining application uptime.

An initial pilot with a different Java-based POS system proved unsuccessful, failing to scale to meet Mark's Work Wearhouse's POS transaction processing needs. Undeterred by this early stumbling block, Lynas selected a Java-based solution, Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale, (formerly Retek Point-of-Sale) in the spring of 2002.

Having experienced some problems in its initial foray in to Java-based store solutions, Lynas chose to proceed cautiously with the Oracle (Retek) solution. "Our plan was to deploy it in approximately 60 pilot stores prior to the holiday season, and monitor performance of Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale during the intensive holiday season, " said Lynas. "The results were very strong, with no decrease in performance with the larger holiday-level transaction volumes. Encouraged by the pilot performance, we decided to accelerate the rollout after the holiday selling season."

By early summer 2003, Mark's Work Wearhouse completed the rollout to its more than 320 stores, achieving outstanding results. Help desk calls have gone down and operating costs have been slashed.

"Leveraging Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale running on Linux, we have reduced our POS operating expenses by 50%, and new store opening costs by 30% while improving customer service, " said Lynas. "Oracle Retail provided solid training and support to our in-house implementation team. This has been the most powerful IT project with which I have been associated. "

Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale is an application within the Oracle Retail Integrated Store Operations solution (formerly Retek Integrated Store Operations solution). This group of applications provides retailers with substantial flexibility, enabled by a Java-based architecture. The flexibility of Oracle Retail Integrated Store Operations solutions includes operating system, database, and hardware independence--enabling a retailer to select supporting technologies that best match its business. Oracle Retail Integrated Store Operations solutions, powered by IBM SurePOS 500 POS terminals with Intel processors, provide a scalable, cost-effective, and agile infrastructure. To maintain a low total cost of ownership, Mark's Work Wearhouse deployed Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale on the Red Hat Linux 7.3 operating system.

Based on its previous experience with Java POS, Mark's Work Wearhouse desired a more active role in the implementation. Oracle Retail provided brief technical training on its architectural platform and tool set. Mark's Work Wearhouse completed the balance of the implementation independently.

"Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale demonstrates the power of running open systems," said Lynas. "By taking advantage of the application's Linux deployment option, Mark's Work Wearhouse has been able to drastically cut costs while improving customer service and our store experience. With more efficient store operations, our associates are better equipped to serve our customers. "

More About Products Used By Mark's Work Wearhouse
Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale

Provides retailers with an advanced application that lets customers complete a purchase anywhere in the store. The application provides rapid execution and greater personalization while enabling reduced operating costs and greater flexibility.

About Oracle Retail

Oracle simplifies your technology environment by providing a uniquely integrated platform for the retail industry. More than 1,900 companies rely on Oracle Retail solutions�which include the Oracle, Retek, ProfitLogic, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards product lines�to create insight-driven enterprises that stay competitive by basing their decisions on accurate, timely customer demand information. Our solutions help retailers improve information integrity, manage your back office operations, and orchestrate all functions of your retail enterprise�from merchandising through the supply chain to your stores. Whether you implement one module at a time or an entire solution suite, Oracle can help you run a smarter, more profitable retail business.

"Leveraging Oracle Retail Point-of-Sale [formerly Retek Point-of-Sale] running on Linux, we have reduced our point-of-sale operating expenses by 50% and new store opening costs by 30% while improving customer service." - Robin Lynas,Chief Information Officer, Mark's Work Wearhouse.

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