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  2005 June Issue
   
Cover Story
Four Seasons Shopping Centre — A place for all seasons
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Retail success – it's all in the inventory
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Hong Kong Fashion Week 2005 grooves to the latest and hottest in trends
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HOFEX 2005 – a resounding success
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Starbucks launches new store concept in Singapore


 




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Retail success
– it’s all in the inventory

 


An efficient, reliable inventory management system can make a substantial difference in a retailer’s performance. Chris Sports, a leading retailer in sports equipment in the Philippines, finds a perfect fit with Turnkey Business Solutions’ Merchandising system.

A family-owned business, Chris Sports has been enjoying double- digit growth in sales for three consecutive years. Gilbert Tang, the company’s managing director, points out a competitive advantage that his chain of sports stores enjoys. “We are a sports-equipment-focused retailer; our assortments are far wider than our closest competitors’,” he says.

Tang attributes the success of the business to the growing demand for sporting goods in the
Philippines and to the company’s sophisticated inventory-management system supplied by Turnkey Business Solutions.

With each store carrying some 12,000 SKUs, Chris Sports requires an inventory-management system that it could grow with. Says Tang: “Three years ago when we chose
Turnkey, there were no other companies in the Philippines that could provide such a comprehensive inventory-management system.

“We spent five months looking at various systems, both local and foreign, and finally chose Turnkey’s Merchant 3.4 solution for its ability to process and integrate information and cost benefit.”

Tang says that although the Turnkey system is more expensive than the local products, it is competitively priced with other foreign systems. “It turned out we made the right decision,” he says. “We’ve seen other IT companies fold with their clients’ unfinished projects .”

Customer-centric

“I don’t think we can find another company as customer-centric as Turnkey,” says Tang.

This is obviously a big plus for the Chris Sports group. “Turnkey works with us without any hidden or additional charges,” he says and relates his experience with a previous vendor where Chris Sports ended up paying for “charges not stated in the contract”. “With Turnkey, we never had this problem. Implementation is the toughest part of the process. They understood that not everything can be written on the contract, that this project requires continuous development and things that may not have been stated do come up. When the POS (pointof-sale) vendor that Turnkey referred to us closed shop, Turnkey came up with another vendor and replaced all old POS units without additional cost.”

To ensure a smooth transfer of technology, Turnkey stationed its own personnel at Chris Sports while training the retailer’s staff to manage the system.

Tang also likes the Turnkey system for its efficiency. Unlike some systems that require several people to manage them, Turnkey Merchant needs only one or two persons manage it, he says.

Using Turnkey Merchant, Chris Sports is able to settle its daily operations, from requisition to receiving inventories. It also links all 21 Chris Sports stores, from those located in Metro Manila to stores in the provincial cities.

“We can monitor our operations from our head office and make decisions through the reports that we generate … the ease of use and the reliability of data generated is, indeed, worth the investment,” says Tang.

With a reliable inventory-management system in place, Tang can now concentrate on expanding his retail operations. He plans to open another five stores over the next three years.

“The demand for sporting goods is on the increase in the Philippines as more people realise the need to stay fit. Taking up a sporting activity not only keeps a person fit physically but it also helps to reduce stress and tension,” says Tang.

He believes that sporting activities may have increased 10-fold in the past three years. “Badminton is the fastest growing sports in the Philippines; fitness and outdoor sports are continually- growing categories as well,” he says.

To cater to growing demand, Chris Sports organises and sponsors all kinds of sporting activities and events, including adventure races; fishing competitions; badminton, tennis, basketball and volleyball tournaments; and even concerts and movie premiers.

In the stores, Tang aims to attract more customers by expanding its range of exclusive and leading brands. Chris Sports is the exclusive distributor for Icon Fitness, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fitness equipment with brands like Nordictrack, Proform, Weider, Image and Healthrider. Also on its exclusive list are Gold’s Gym Home Fitness systems, Shimano fishing gear, and Bull’s boxing and fitness equipment.

As his business grows, Tang is looking to upgrade his operation and inventory management system, and is now looking at Turnkey’s new product line, KeyPOS.

 


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