With more than 2,000 outlets in high streets and shopping centres throughout the country, Arcadia Group is one of the UK’s largest clothing retailers with brands including Burton, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Wallis and Outfit.

Last October, Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green unveiled a 20 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £202 million but also outlined plans to deliver more efficiency throughout the organisation. One avenue is to close dozens of smaller shops within his Arcadia empire and replace them with bigger stores over the next three years, as he reviews a fifth of his 2,000 store leases across Britain’s high streets.

Another measure announced to squeeze more value from the Arcadia brands is the rollout of an international website. This builds on the contract signed with IBM in March 2006 to revamp its e-commerce infrastructure. The group signed a £3.3m five-year outsourcing agreement with IBM to develop web-based systems to handle a projected increase in online sales using products from IBM’s WebSphere range.
Arcadia has created a set of master data to guarantee online availability of all in-store stock, which sets it apart from most clothing retailers that only make a subset of products available electronically.

Arcadia plans further phases of the project to enable it to become far more sophisticated in the way it trades online, and to increase the level of multi-channel capabilities it has.