Hamleys toys with international growth

Hamleys, the toy store, has adopted a new sales and purchase order system as part of its plan to expand internationally.

The iconic London retailer is opening a series of franchised 'flagship' style stores around the world - starting with Dubai this summer and Jordan later in the year.

David Oakley, Hamleys head of IT, told IT PRO how the sales and order system was the latest part of ongoing investment in the infrastructure that will support the international stores.

"Our business has changed and evolved," he said, "so we needed to find a system to help us adapt our business to these changes."

Oakley said Hamleys had been working with specialist retail IT vendor, VCSTimeless for a couple of years now to update its IT systems in preparation for expansion. And, having initially adopted its merchandising product, the vendor's sales and order system offered a good fit with Hamleys' business and IT needs going forward.

"We started working with VCS two years ago, when we adopted its merchandising system to accommodate multiple cost models and improvements in our supply chain," said Oakley. "Since then, we've upgraded our financial systems among others in preparation for the Dubai opening."

The sales and purchase order system will integrate with Hamleys' financial reporting software and third-party carrier systems to enable international franchise partners to place orders for Hamleys' own-brand stock items.

It will also manage the entire stock import and sales process including order generation, transportation, customs documentation, delivery, invoice matching and payment.

"[Our selection of IT systems] has always been about functional fit and the ability to deliver," Oakley added.

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.