John Lewis Oxford Street

John Lewis is embarking on a four-year project to roll out Oracle's ERP across the business.

As part of a "substantial infrastructure investment", Oracle will replace 50 legacy systems to modernise John Lewis' inventory and customer systems across the business, from its stores to its website, according to a report in The Register.

John Lewis is no stranger to Oracle, having recently provided an Oracle-based self-service HR platform for its 85,000 staff. It upgraded its Oracle E-Business Suite system from version 11.5.10 to R12 in 2011.

Implementing Oracle ERP would give the retailer a "single view" of its customers across all channels, John Lewis CIO Paul Coby said.

"Being absolutely in control of your inventory and flexibility across all channels is something you need," Coby said.

"In terms of the scale of our ambition and growing the business, and in terms of being able to move more quickly, now is the time you want to modernise those core systems."

He added: "You can get so far with legacy. In many respects, legacy is a great thing, you have paid for it and the bugs have been removed. But the business is changing."

Last year, John Lewis revealed plans to increase its use of cloud services to simplify its IT infrastructure and deal with growing data demands.

It already uses a website commerce system, rolled out in 2012, from Oracle-owned ATG. Oracle acquired ATG in November 2010.

Last month, John Lewis reported an increase of over a third in online sales, giving a nod to "excellent behind-the-scenes" support from IT and operations in helping to deliver high levels of customer service.