Not all doom & gloom

Spring has been a tough time for UK retail with the sad news first of British Home Stores (BHS) and then, almost immediately after, Austin Read the gentlemen’s tailoring brand, both tumbling into Administration. Of course these aren’t the only retail failures over the last months, but they stand out for being two of the most enduring and well known high street brands.
Fortunately, not all retail failures end this way and some have risen, Phoenix-like from the ashes. T J Hughes, the much-loved Merseyside department store group with a history stretching back to 1912, is a classic example.

T J Hughes Store The T J Hughes brand name and six flagship stores were acquired from Administrators back in 2011 by Managing Director Anil Juneja, who has successfully turned the business around and with ambitious expansion plans hopes to build an estate of 60 sites, five more than the brand’s original peak.
Today, the Liverpool-based retailer has already successfully grown to 17 stores across the UK with some 900 staff. The company added three stores towards the end of 2015 and will continue its expansion this year with new store openings planned for St. Helens on Merseyside and Maidstone in Kent, with others to follow. Part of the success has been to refocus the business on premium brands and quality products at low prices.
Until recently the company has relied on its legacy systems, but it has now invested in new IT systems to deliver a full omni-channel retail experience. We are delighted to be part of this transition as the store group standardises on Futura’s EPOS and retail management solution to modernize systems and optimise performance.
To date, Futura has been deployed across some 190 tills and 25 users at head-office to provide a robust and modern retail environment, capable of supporting the company’s omni-channel business model and scaling up as the group grows. With some 35,000 SKUs Futura is also managing stock for T J Hughes online and providing the integration to the company’s existing e-commerce provider and to the Peoplevox warehouse platform.
Next up the team is planning to implement Click and Collect as well as modules covering Loyalty points and Gift Cards.
T J Hughes is a great example of how to reverse the fortunes of a struggling brand. Fresh blood and new thinking are clearly part of the answer.


Ditching Legacy Systems

Switching out legacy systems is a major challenge and there are key factors to consider for any retailer embarking on this journey, involving new IT systems but cultural change too. It’s something you need to prepare for carefully and there are some key challenges to manage.
Selecting the right partner, one that takes the time to properly understand your business and your goals is certainly key. Then moving your existing customer and inventory data is of course crucial.
Integration with other systems that you depend on, warehouse systems for example, is another factor and then there are new processes to learn which may or may not require modifications to how you do business.
Planning and testing with pilot installations before full roll out and implementation should help identify issues. Finally staff training and a strong communication plan that ensure every member of staff is on board well before you deploy new systems is essential.
We’ll be discussing the topic of legacy systems and transitioning to a new retail management system in a future blog so watch this space. Meanwhile if you would like more information about Futura’s roll out at T J Hughes or are considering a new retail management system to take your business forward we’d be happy to explain more.  To get in touch give us a call on 01189 841925.

Futura Retail offer EPOS and stock management solutions for lifestyle retailers, click here to find out more, or why not follow us for our latest updates on Twitter?

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