Part I of this blog topic introduced Epicor Software and its traditional vertical solutions. It also analyzed Epicor’s forays into the attractive retail sector via the CRS acquisition two years ago. Designed for integration and scalability, the Epicor/CRS Retail Suite can support a wide variety of retail enterprises’ requirements.
These environments range from the rapidly expanding regional retailer requiring point-of-sale (POS), store operations and merchandising, to the large, global retailer requiring central management, visibility and control over hundreds or thousands of distributed stores and outlets.
Epicor/CRS customers include leading retailers such as Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Cache, Chico’s, Coach, Eileen Fisher, Factory Connection, Foot Locker, GNC, J.Crew, Stage Stores, Trans World Entertainment, Tuesday Morning, Inc., Yankee Candle Company and Zumiez, among others. The retail division employs more than 360 employees based in Newburgh, New York, the United States (US), with regional offices in Seattle, Washington, US and Bracknell, the United Kingdom (UK).
The Epicor/CRS Retail Suite was devised to assist retailers in integrating their sales channels, order management, pricing, inventory, and resources to more effectively manage a real-time (or close to), multi-channel enterprise. Some of the retail applications that are presently generally available in the suite are:
Finally, the Epicor/CRS Retail Integration module provides an integrated offering across the Epicor Enterprise Financials Suite [evaluate this product] and Epicor/CRS Merchandising Suite. Through Epicor Service Connect , a Web services-based business integration platform that came from the above-mentioned Scala acquisition, a secure, auditable two-way integration is supported across these diverse solutions. Service Connect functions as the central integration point for implementing secure workflow orchestrations within Epicor applications and with third-party applications to enhance collaboration and automate business processes. The Epicor/CRS Retail Integration provides the integration for feeding store-level information from merchandising to the financial application.
This brings us to the fact that Epicor’s products are increasingly developed on and use service-oriented architecture (SOA) concepts, which can help manufacturers, distributors, retailers and services organizations to more quickly and efficiently respond to changing business requirements and practices. SOA is a modular, standards-based approach to software development and its deployment is designed to provide a more agile and adaptable application foundation, which can help companies more effectively align their IT resources and enterprise software with their overall business objectives. Epicor’s early adoption of Microsoft .NET and Web services technology allows its product offerings, development and services to leverage the benefits of a SOA and provide growing mid-sized businesses with increased flexibility, inter-operability and cross-platform capability.
To be able to service its growing list of international retail customers, over the past year Epicor/CRS has engineered its POS product to support global market requirements. The latest version of RetailStore, 3.1, released in Q3 2007 – supports French Canadian, Italian, French, and Spanish languages. The release handles capturing customer data for multiple country formats and supports multiple currency denominations and rounding. Additionally, the solution is compliant with the Unicode standard for engineering software that works across multiple regions, countries, languages, alphabets, and scripts. And in early 2008, RetailStore is slated to support Unicode for the Japanese and Chinese markets.
Also, to further support its international retail customers, Epicor is continuing to grow and leverage its UK office located in Bracknell as its implementation and support services hub. The company’s Europe Middle-East & Africa (EMEA) consulting team also grew considerably in 2007, opening additional offices in Slovakia, South Africa, Kenya and India, as well as an office in Egypt, operated jointly with consulting partner IDTA. Epicor also plans to extend its Center of Excellence in Malaysia, which will provide implementation, training and help desk and support services, as well as maintenance, disaster recovery, and support for new store openings.
To further expand its presence and prowess in the retail sector, in December 2007 Epicor and NSB Retail Systems jointly announced that they have agreed on terms for the acquisition of NSB by Epicor for approximately US$320 million. NSB provides a range of software and hardware solutions to apparel, specialty, and department store retailers (which all sounds quite similar to the CRS’ offering).
As a vendor of software for retailers of apparel, footwear and other “specialty” merchandise, NSB is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and registered and publicly traded in the UK. In 2007, NSB had over 600 employees and projected revenues of $91 million (with some sizable profitability too) from about 200 customers (mostly in the US). The deal is expected to close in February 2008.
Part III of this blog topic will analyze a continuation of Epicor’s strategy to capitalize on the red-hot retail software market, where it initially jumped into with its acquisition of CRS Retail two years ago. Your views, comments, opinions, etc. about Epicor’s moves in the retail sector are customarily welcome in the meantime.
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[…] Part II of this blog topic analyzed Epicor’s forays into the attractive retail sector via the CRS Retail acquisition two years ago. Most recently, with the acquisition of NSB Retail Systems, Epicor has further expanded its functional footprint, market share and geographic presence in the sector. Namely, NSB added over 200 specialty retail logos, thereby more than doubling Epicor’s retail install base. […]