Independent stockist of stylish fashion handbags and accessories supports rapid growth with robust retail system.
Ollie & Nic launched their first designer handbag collection in 2003 instantly placing Ollie & Nic firmly on the fashion scene. The designer handbags were soon available in department stores throughout the UK, including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.
Following the success of its first flagship store in Brighton’s Lanes, Ollie & Nic has organically grown to its current ten stores, with a further nine stores planned to open by the end of 2011across the UK. The stores sell designer handbags, jewellery and accessories. It has also launched a successful website where customers can purchase from the range.
Rapid growth with new stores
Ollie & Nic has invested in the latest retail IT systems to support its rapid growth to date, as well as the planned expansion into new stores. The company installed Eurostop’s e-rmis retail management system and e-pos till system in its first store in Brighton for stock management and sales and stock reporting.
According to Nick Hill, Director at Ollie & Nic; “We have seen fantastic growth in the last few years, despite the current retail climate. In the early days we had ambitious plans and it was important to invest in reliable Head Office systems to support our business.
“We have four new stores opening this summer and a further five planned by the end of next year, as well as a catalogue launch planned for Spring/Summer 2010. Without robust and accurate stock management and sales reporting we could not support such growth.”
Proven retail management system
The company selected Eurostop’s system having researched the retail options available, choosing Eurostop for its proven expertise in the retail sector. “Eurostop’s system provided us with the reporting and management functionality that we were looking for and the ability to integrate with our other systems and website. We were impressed with the number and calibre of fashion retailers that Eurostop counts as clients, such as Joseph, Ann Summers and Charles Tyrwhitt,” said Nick Hill.
While the company has grown with the number of store outlets, the merchandising team still buys relatively small quantities to replenish stock, focusing on stylish and unusual designer bags and accessories.
Zara Oakley is one of two merchandisers at Ollie & Nic who regularly uses sales reports from the system to monitor and manage stock. The reports reflect the latest sales data from the stores, which the merchandisers use to identify hot sellers and popular lines in the new seasons collections, as well as those with poor sell thru.
“We manage all of our stock on the Eurostop system,” explained Zara. “As a brand we specialise in combining together a wide range of distinctive, practical and colourful bags and accessories that our customers associate with Ollie & Nic. We order in all stock items into one stock pool, from which we replenish the stores.” The company now focuses solely on the retail side of the business, having phased out the wholesale operations.
Visibility of the latest sales data
Currently the merchandising team has visibility of sales from all its stores every Monday morning, enabling them to get an up to the minute view on what has sold during the past week. The team uses the data for stock planning and forecasting, as well as reviewing how new seasonal lines are selling.
The investment in Eurostop’s system will, explains Hill, be of even more benefit once the company starts to use the customer loyalty features in the stores. “As our number of stores increase, as the online store takes off and as we launch our new catalogue, customer loyalty will become a key area of future development for our business. The Eurostop system already has these key features built-in.”
Ollie & Nic also plans to integrate its online store with the retail management system in the future. The new website reflects the stores brand look and feel, and has already firmly established its place on its customer’s online favourites.
“Eurostop’s retail system has been critical to our business growth,” said Hill. “With accurate stock management and merchandising, we have been able to keep tight controls on stock, sales and margin, helping us ensure that our business continues to be healthy and profitable.