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WH Smith North America applies AI to inventory planning

WHSmith store at LaGuardia Airport (Photo provided by WHSmith. Photo credit: Eamonn Conway).

A specialty airport/casino retailer is streamlining the process of allocating merchandise to specific store locations.

WH Smith North America (WHSNA), incorporating Marshall Retail Group, is leveraging the Oracle retail cloud platform to better manage planning and inventory across its more than 300 specialty airport and casino stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. The retailer’s stores include licensed locations for brands such as Harley-Davidson, In Motion, Lego, and Tumi.

The company has implemented Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning Cloud Service, enabling merchandise and location planners to streamline work while helping ensure day-to-day decisions align with wider business objectives. It also leverages SaaS-based Oracle Retail Artificial Intelligence Foundation Cloud Service, part of Oracle Retail Analytics and Planning Cloud Services.

Utilizing Oracle artificial intelligence (AI)-based cloud solutions, WHSNA planners intend to deliver a more accurate inventory plan with optimal assortment, styles and size recommendations. The company hopes this will enable it to better provide the right merchandise in the right locations, enhancing customer satisfaction.  

WHNSA has also been using the Oracle Retail Store POS platform since 2020.

"We have a great track record of fast and successful implementations with Oracle Retail," said Josh Bellendir, CIO of WHSNA. "We engaged Columbus Consulting to evaluate planning solutions to replace our aging technology, and we chose Oracle and RetSci for their combined retail expertise and speed to market. By choosing a modern, AI-supported platform, we can expand our planning capabilities and streamline business operations while increasing customer satisfaction."

"WH Smith North America is one of the first customers to deploy our Oracle retail cloud platform with AI Foundation," said Mike Webster, senior VP and GM, Oracle Retail. "With these applications, WH Smith North America can scale data models across its operations and benefit from powerful predictive and prescriptive analytics to better forecast demand, improve inventory accuracy, and reduce markdowns and over-stocks to help increase customer satisfaction and profits."

"This collaboration was great between WH Smith North America, Columbus Consulting, Oracle, and RetSci. The collective team managed the scope of the implementation to deliver mission-critical capabilities quickly," said Bill Zacher, COO of RetSci.

[Read more: Travel retailer WHSmith makes U.S. store debut — with Amazon tech]

WH Smith is a global travel retailer with over 1,700 stores across 30 countries worldwide. WH Smith North America, incorporating Marshall Retail Group (MRG) and InMotion, represents over half of the company's international store count, with roughly 320 specialty retail stores located in airports and resorts across North America.

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