Calvin Klein has designs on updating IT

Calvin Klein is in the process of a major IT overhaul in support of its strategy to expand its own-brand retail store presence in Europe.

IT PRO spoke to Francesco Forni, Calvin Klein's head of IT in Europe, about its use of IT systems from specialist European retail provider, VCSTimeless on the occasion of the vendor's customer conference, taking place this week in Barcelona.

Forni said the company had been a long-term VCS customer. When it was sold in 2003 to current owner, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, it was decided to maintain the systems, but update them to support ambitious growth plans.

"We are improving the IT and buying new modules because our business is changing," he said. "By the end of this year we will have opened five stores in Europe. More stores to manage means we need more automation to work faster and speed our time to market."

Existing operations were mainly reliant on manual processes. "Both in-store, we're working on systems to improve the handling of inventory, labelling, returns and so on," Forni said. "Centrally we're looking at other things around the supply chain, like orders, shipments and replenishment, as well as planning and merchandising to save on time to market in the fast-moving fashion world."

The company has just upgraded to version 8 of VCS' main retail platform, Columbus, having also upgraded its point-of-sale systems to VCS Retail 8. "We are also using the Optimum module for sales," added Forni.

He also said, overall, the technology provides Calvin Klein with the necessary multi-lingual and multi-currency functionality to manage complex inventory needs, whether from a store, retail head office, or overseas franchise.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.