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Macy’s speeding up adoption of RFID technology

Cincinnati -- Macy’s is ramping up its adoption of RFID technology. The retailer announced that its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores are adopting the technology on an accelerated timeline to more precisely manage item-level merchandise inventories. The company expects that by the third quarter of 2012, it will begin using RFID in all stores nationwide to count size-intensive replenishment goods, which accounts for about 30% of the company’s total sales.

The news puts Macy’s in the forefront of retailers who are implementing RFID on a broad national scale. The company has been testing RFID technology for nearly two years in selected Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores and distribution centers. The Use of RFID to precisely track replenishment goods on-hand by size, color and style is expected to be completed by fall of 2013 in all stores.

“To Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, RFID is a tool to better serve customers and drive sales by ensuring we have the right product in the right place at the right time for our in-store and omnichannel shoppers,” said Tom Cole, chief administrative officer of Macy’s. “RFID will allow us to more frequently count item-level inventory with precision so our inventory is readily accessible to our customers. This is technology that has proven effective in our testing, and we believe now is the right time to roll out RFID aggressively.”

With RFID, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s store associates can count inventory significantly faster. This will enable multiple counts throughout the year, compared with the current practice of taking a physical inventory once a year. Testing has shown that, on average, inventory accuracy can be maintained at 97% or better, the company said. Frequent counts will also ensure the correct placement of items in the right range of sizes, colors and styles on the selling floor.

The initial 2012 launch of RFID technology will be in size-intensive replenishment categories such as men’s furnishings, intimate apparel, men’s slacks, denim and women’s shoes in each store nationwide. Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s private brands are included in the initiative.

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