Fashion retailer Donna Karan chooses QuickAssortment to optimise store-level assortments for high-profile clientele

TheDonna Karan Company L.L.C., the international fashion retailer, isimplementing a new merchandise, store and assortment planning softwaresolution. QuickAssortment from Maple Lake will enable Donna Karan tocreate store assortments that align to the purchasing preferences ofits customers in each location, as well as via its e-commerce stores. QuickAnalytics is also being used to provide extensive reporting andanalytical capabilities.

"In the luxury market we haveto be sensitive to the individual preferences of our customers andensure that we have an assortment that inspires each time they visitour stores," said Donna Sarian, VP Planning and Allocation at DonnaKaran. "From an inventory planning and management point of view, ourchallenge is to balance the needs of a multi-brand, multi-channelorganization with long design and buying cycles.  It's very easy fordepartments to be disconnected and find we don't have enough of theright product in the right stores.  With Maple Lake we're joining allaspects of our retail planning into a single application, so that wecan be sure our products, stores and assortments all balance."

Sariancontinued: "The quick win is obviously one of efficiency - we won'thave to spend time maintaining our web of spreadsheets - but the realvalue to us will be through greater visibility to the effects of ourdecisions on the bottom line.  Understanding how deep to go on amarkdown, quantifying the buys, fine tuning the targeted inventorylevels to maintain just the right amount of cover - all of these thingswill have a positive impact to the gross margin and the ability for thecompany to grow efficiently."

"HavingDonna Karan join our list of client partners is very exciting for us,"said Stuart Aldridge, Chief Marketing Officer at Maple Lake.  "Therough economic conditions of the past 24 months have highlighted theneed for retailers to be efficient and effective in their use ofinventory across the chain, and no one has felt it harder than theluxury goods sector.  The team at Donna Karan was very clear in theirneeds when evaluating their choice of partner, and our experiences witha cross section of both luxury retailers such as Barneys New York andIntermix, as well as the higher volume mainstream retailers includingAeropostale, Lululemon Athletica and Columbia, demonstrated ourexpertise and adaptability."

Unusually, the Donna Karanselection team used the power of social networking as part of its duediligence process to help choose a vendor. The team establishedcontacts with existing Maple Lake clients and obtained informalreferences and on-site visits in absence of the vendor to gain a realworld understanding of whether the solution could really add value.

"Theevaluation process was exceptionally quick, mostly due to the smarterway the team used their social networks," said Aldridge "and the resultis that we are already well into the project and on schedule fordelivery, whereas most traditional customers would still be reviewingan RFP response."

Sarian concluded, "We knew that we had a goodtechnical fit, we liked the product and we were confident in MapleLake's ability to deliver a project all before they walked through thedoor!  We're now all excited about the opportunity to really be able todrive the growth."

QuickAssortment includes merchandiseplanning, store planning, store clustering, store assortment planningand key item planning. QuickAnalytics provides an extremelycomprehensive reporting and analytical capability powered byMicroStrategy.  Technically, Maple Lake's software operates on aMicrosoft SQL server platform and operates within a client-serverarchitecture. The system is integrated with a variety of merchandisemanagement and business intelligence (BI) systems. 

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