Lulu Guinness – driving international growth

With an eye firmly focussed on international markets, the iconic British designer label Lulu Guinness continues to grow. A highly aspirational product collection is part of its success. Recently, the combination of a robust retail management system and the resulting strong integration across the business has added further confidence, freeing up management teams to focus on where the opportunities lie.

The company operates a complex retail model including a direct retail business primarily in the UK, with Lulu Guinness online and a powerful wholesale business supporting sales via major department stores. Internationally, there are a growing number of wholesale franchise partners with stores for example in New York, Tokyo and Bangkok and the whole business is supported by warehouse operations in the UK, the USA and Hong Kong.

Connectivity to provide a single view of the business with live stock information is extremely important and is one of the key challenges that Futura has helped to address. The retailer went ‘live’ with the Futura retail solution in May 2013, with head office systems covering all core processes from merchandise planning and purchase order management, to allocations and replenishment. By implementing web services, Futura has provided robust integration between head office systems and the online business to provide real time stock information. This provides a dynamic bi-directional link between systems, with live stock availability.

Lulu Guinness Royal Exchange store

Web services also link third party warehouse systems providing real-time links to head-office processes and to the Magento e-commerce system behind the website. Work here by Futura’s software development team has streamlined processes to ensure smoother stock replenishment, with warehouse fulfilment now following the same format as the website.

Paul Spinks, Lulu Guinness’ Managing Director explains: “Warehouse integration is extremely important for us – essential for driving and supporting our growing wholesale opportunities globally. 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.”

As well as improving stock visibility throughout the business, Futura has also ended a dependency on time consuming and sometimes inaccurate manual processes. It means more time for key business decisions and inventory control and merchandise planning have improved, as has management reporting and integration between departments.

The ongoing experience with Futura has been, “extremely positive” says Spinks and “From a process point of view, it allows us much more time to reflect, review and improve how we operate.”

With the foundations in place to power further growth Spinks and his team can focus on the bigger issues of growing the Lulu Guinness brand and selecting the right opportunities for the business.

Futura supplies lifestyle retailers with proven a POS, merchandising, stock control and CRM system, designed to improve customer experience and management control, driving cost savings and efficiencies throughout the company.