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Women’s apparel brand improves merchandise planning


In an omnichannel world, success is based on presenting the right products in front of shoppers when — and where — they are ready to make a purchase.

Soft Surroundings quickly learned that the more it expanded however, the harder this task became. Choosing the right allocation and merchandise planning solution was only the first step in the brand’s journey. By partnering with Columbus Consulting International, the chain was able to streamline the design, deployment and implementation of its new solutions.

The lifestyle brand began as a catalog-based retailer in St. Louis in 1999. After successfully driving sales across its catalog and later, an e-commerce site, the company opened its first retail store in 2005. It currently has 43 stores across the U.S. and plans to open more locations throughout 2017.

With an increasing omnichannel presence however, Soft Surroundings needed to update its allocation and merchandise planning solutions to meet growing demand and new business needs.

After selecting a solution provider for their new merchandise planning operations, Soft Surroundings tapped Columbus Consulting to complete the business process, design and implementation. The allocation portion is projected to be completed by the second half of 2017 and the merchandise planning system will be completed in late 2017, the retailer said.

“We selected Columbus Consulting based on their outstanding track record and the incredible value that they provide,” said Josh Rosenfeld, director of planning, allocation and procurement, Soft Surroundings. “Unlike other consulting companies, every consultant we engage with has the experience and expertise we need to make these projects successful.”

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