Debenhams says RFID is paying off

Debenhams has completed a £6m roll-out of RFID tagging technology across its 142 stores, which it says is already improving goods tracking and customer service.

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Debenhams has completed a £6m roll-out of RFID tagging technology across its 142 stores, which it says is already improving goods tracking and customer service.

And the high-street department store, which was reporting annual profits of £131.4m, said this initiative and other IT investments were playing a key role in boosting profitability.

Besides the RFID programme, Debenhams has several flagship IT projects underway that it said were making a difference, including mobile office capabilities, a work planner system and improvements to its stock availability management and pricing control systems.

It also said improvements to its e-commerce website had boosted online sales by 51% in the second half, with visits up 44% on last year.

Rob Templeman, the firm’s CEO, said: “Our new autumn/winter ranges are being well received and this, together with the refitting of stores and previous investment in a new IT platform and distribution centre, is improving the customer experience."

Debenhams is in the throes of major change, with plans to double its 141-strong UK store estate in the next five years and to introduce another 100 smaller stores branded Desire. It is also planning to grow its international franchise business.