C&A invests in IT and logistics in omnichannel push
Clothing company C&A presented in February its strategy until 2021, with a key emphasis on transforming and modernising the retail business into an omnichannel powerhouse. Additionally, the company was restructured and cut more than 100 jobs to become more efficient and reduce costs.
After opening 23 stores with its new concept in Austria and other core European markets, the company is now focusing on improving other areas, like its IT infrastructure and logistics network in Central and Eastern Europe.
As part of the plan, C&A will build a new logistics and distribution centre in the Slovakian city of Trnava to supply all branches located in Central and Eastern Europe, including Austria, from spring 2019.
The retailer is also working on a new system for its IT and logistics unit, designed to help C&A become a leading omnichannel retailer and offer a seamless online and in-store shopping experience, as well as faster delivery.
“In 2019, we will fundamentally reorganise our logistics, IT and distribution activities in our 9 CEE countries (Austria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). C&A continues to evolve into one of the most modern omnichannel retailers in the clothing sector,” said Norbert W. Scheele, Director of Country C&A Austria & CEE.
Currently, C&A operates two logistics and distribution centres for the 9 countries that make up the CEE region, including a hub in Enns, Austria and another in Nové Mesto, Slovakia. These logistics centres are struggling to meet the company’s infrastructure standards and will continue in operation until the new centre launches in 2019. Then, the Enns hub will close with 215 jobs losses.
“With a clear focus and even greater flexibility, we will be able to meet the exact needs of our customers in the future. We are setting the groundwork for an economically successful, competitive future in which our customers can buy, order and exchange items where, when and however they want. I am very pleased about this important step for our company”, said Sheele.
To ensure a fast next-day delivery, the company is investing in the cloud-based software solution JDA, which together with RFID tracking should make the entire supply chain more transparent.
“A key element of in our customers’ shopping experience is the availability of products in-store. The expectation is that a product should be available in a short period of time. For this reason, we are centralising our logistics and distribution from 2019 onwards for the 9 countries that make up the CEE cluster in the best place possible in terms of geography and infrastructure. This place is the city of Trnava in Slovakia,” said Willem Eelman, Chief Operations Transformation Officer at C&A.
“The intelligent use of these new technologies will have a very positive impact on the shopping experience at C&A,” added Norbert W. Scheele.
C&A has almost 2,000 stores, of which 1,500 are located in Europe. Germany has 479 C&A stores, while Austria boasts of 130 locations. Four stores have launched with the new store concept in Vienna, Meidling, Innsbruck and Dornbirn in 2017, with three more due to open in the autumn.
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