IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 1 Dec 2006

Mosaic opts for managed polling


Mosaic Fashions, parent company of the seven successful design-led fashion brands Oasis, Principles, Warehouse, Karen Millen, Coast, Whistles and the footwear business, The Shoe Studio, has contracted with IT partner Retail Assist for a managed polling service in some of its brands.

For any retailer, the efficient and timely polling of data between own-brand stores is a critical element that affects key functions such as replenishment. However, as Mosaic experienced, multi-channel distribution makes additional demands in this area. As the retailer has expanded its network of concessions to encompass more and more partners, the requirement for data exchange has increased and become more complex.

Until now, Mosaic has used standard file transfer protocol (FTP) to send PLU data down to its partners and receive sales data back from them. Whilst aiming for file standardisation from all concessions, Mosaic found itself having to manipulate diverse formats before data could be processed into its Mercatus merchandising system.

Now, rather than continue to manage this process on an agreement-by-agreement basis, the retailer has retained Retail Assist to provide a proven, consistent and scaleable solution across the board.

Data polling is an area of expertise for Retail Assist and it was able to offer Mosaic a managed service that was both cost-effective and relevant to the retailer’s business model.

“To support our ambitions for expansion, it was critical for us to establish a resilient polling model which can be extended to any concession or Mosaic brand store. Retail Assist has a proven track record in managing polling services to support both own-fascia and concession operations, which gives us a real sense of confidence,” says Mike Padfield, I.T. Development Manager at Mosaic Fashions.

As a result of the agreement with Retail Assist, Mosaic will enjoy a fully managed service, governed by a service level agreement (SLA) that aims to achieve a consistently high rate of polling success.

It will also include the daily collection of consolidated sales data from each of the concessionaires and its transmission to Mosaic together with an analysis of any polling failures or discrepancies.

The service rollout is planned in three stages. The first stage is completed, with data now being exchanged with Irish department store chain, Brown Thomas, which is carrying Oasis’ new Odille lingerie range.

The next phase was to extend the service to support Mosaic’s recent agreement with Dutch department store chain, Vroom and Dreesmann. Work has now been completed to poll product and sales files for the Oasis range to and from four Vroom and Dreesmann sites.

With all of its brands already sold across House of Fraser stores, Mosaic has moved operations onto a true concession footing, with host store tills used to transact business and to provide a daily sales update. Retail Assist has now completed the work to poll files between Mosaic and House of Fraser.

“The fact that we already manage a polling service with House of Fraser for another retailer and are familiar with its file formats and processing protocols means we could bring Mosaic’s new developments to market quickly,” adds Alan Morris, Managing Director at Retail Assist.

Concludes Mike Padfield “This new agreement enables our staff to concentrate on other projects, gives us confidence that a consistent and reliable service is in place, and removes any limitations on our future ambitions for expansion.”

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