STORES - September 2010 - (Page 50)

NUTS AND BOLTS / PAYMENTS AND CREDIT Dig Deep, Save Money Software lets retailers take a closer look at bank relationships and fees BY KAREN M. KROLL he languishing economy and heightened regulatory environment have prompted many retailers to wring every possible cost from their operations. As a result, previously overlooked expenses are getting a thorough once-over, including banking fees. Retailers increasingly want to know how much they’re paying, what services they’re getting in return and whether negotiated terms are being properly applied. T In order to ensure that their firms are complying with regulations and prudently managing expenses, “executives need the historical data that supports their financial statements,” says Stacey Gilmore, treasury management consultant with Chesapeake System Solutions, a provider of corporate treasury solutions based in Owings Mills, Md. The challenge is that bank fees can quickly add up for retailers of any size, making analysis difficult. Most work with numerous banks around the country, each charging different prices for the same service. That’s true even if the banks are part of the same company, Gilmore explains, as most bank managers have some leeway in the fees they charge, so they can adjust for local competition. The result? Trying to review numerous monthly bank fee statements quickly becomes overwhelming. “The account analyses are voluminous,” Gilmore says. As a result, many accounting departments can do little more than give each statement a cursory glance to make sure nothing has gone too far astray. Looking to lower costs That was the case at Chico’s FAS, the $1.9 billion retailer of women’s apparel sold under the brand names Chico’s, White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates. The company’s bank fees exceeded $1.2 million in 2008, says Jeanne Peaslee, manager of cash management. What’s more, because each of the com- pany’s more than 1,000 stores had its own bank account, the treasury staff could only skim monthly reports for significant cost. That changed early last year when Kent Kleeberger, Chico’s CFO and treasurer, issued a challenge. “We were all asked to look for ways to lower costs due to the economy,” Peaslee says. The company had already installed SmartAnalysis from Chesapeake System Solutions as part of its treasury opera- Chico’s FAS saved about $300,000 during the first 12 months of using SmartAnalysis, and the software more than paid for itself. The retailer saved another 10 percent on costs the second year, as well. 50 STORES / SEPTEMBER 2010 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - September 2010

STORES - September 2010
Table of Contents
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail People
Favorite 50
Retail Showcase
Customer Retention
Social Shopping
Gift Cards
Business Intelligence
Networking & Communications
Customer Centricity
Payments & Credit
Return Fraud
Green Issues
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES - September 2010