STORES Magazine - June 2011 - (Page 87)

NUTS AND BOLTS / BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Smart Choices Stein Mart enhances BI systems to drive growth BY LEN LEWIS A t a time when fast, accurate decision-making can be the difference between long-term success and dismal failure, how productive is it to spend 14 hours pulling together a sales report — and paying for the privilege? This was the issue facing Stein Mart, which operates more than 260 stores in 30 states. To facilitate future expansion, the chain needed to upgrade its business intelligence capabilities and transform itself into an information-based culture to meet increased competition and rapid-fire changes in consumer demand. “Business intelligence has become increasingly important,” says Hunt Hawkins, the company’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “As we continue to grow and try to improve sales and product, we needed the ability to give store and executive managers greater access to information.” Hawkins’ comments are being echoed WWW.STORES.ORG throughout the industry as retailers in every segment adopt BI, a broad term covering all software applications used to quickly analyze corporate and instore sales data and inventory. Long-term success The need for new systems at Stein Mart was underscored in comments about the chain’s 2010 results from president and CEO David H. Stovall, Jr. “We were able to offer a better solution in a more secure facility and drive cost savings of $600,000 per year.” — Andrew Black, Stein Mart “Our long-term success is dependent on gaining more traction in sales growth,” Stovall says. “We are confident our strategies of offering distinctive merchandise at great values, providing a terrific shopping experience and attracting more customers with targeted marketing will enable us to deliver profitable growth.” Toward this end, the chain allocated 2011 capital expenditures of $25 to $30 million to be used primarily for enhancing information systems, as well as store openings, relocations and remodels. “Our legacy system did not keep up with our growing business,” says Ilan Wajsman, Stein Mart’s data systems manager, and the retailer required a “data warehouse that could not only handle the seven-plus terabytes of existing data but could easily be able to scale up.” The result was switching to a BI system on the Microsoft SQL server 2008 built on an HP technology platform. The solution also includes Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint server 2007. The Microsoft SQL Server 2008 platform is an industry leader in both scalability and performance, designed to STORES / JUNE 2011 87 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - June 2011

Stores - June 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
CEO Compensation
Customer Service
Business Strategy
What We’ve Learned
Loss Prevention Supplier Directory
Customer Rewards
Business Management
Social Media
Planning Solutions
Loyalty Programs
Business Intelligence
Store Operations
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - June 2011