Executive Briefings

German Retailer Tracks In-Store Apparel Inventory with RFID Technology

German clothing company C&A is expanding its radio frequency identification system from what was initially a trial involving five of its stores in Germany, to cover 25 locations. C&A, which manufactures its own apparel and footwear for men, women and children, is testing whether the technology can improve its supply chain visibility and in-store inventory, to ensure that at all times certain goods are on the shelves for purchase at each of its stores.

The company, which operates approximately 1,600 stores throughout 20 countries, specializes in providing affordable, quality apparel, with a focus on sustainability. Garments are made as ordered by specific stores, and the firm strives to ensure not only that an adequate quantity of goods are on its stores' sales floors and in their back rooms, but also that merchandise is replenished as when sold.

The company commenced a trial deployment of an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID solution in June 2012 in an effort to provide an automated system, including advance shipping notices as goods leave the factory bound for a specific store. In addition, the system tracks which goods are in each store's back room and on the sales floor, which have been sold and, in some cases, what has passed through the doors of a particular location. The firm aims to better ensure that "never out of stock" items are always on the shelf, says Joachim Wilkens, C&A Group's director of supply chain development. Such goods include women and children's underwear, men's and women's jeans, and men's suits, trousers and blazers.

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The company, which operates approximately 1,600 stores throughout 20 countries, specializes in providing affordable, quality apparel, with a focus on sustainability. Garments are made as ordered by specific stores, and the firm strives to ensure not only that an adequate quantity of goods are on its stores' sales floors and in their back rooms, but also that merchandise is replenished as when sold.

The company commenced a trial deployment of an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID solution in June 2012 in an effort to provide an automated system, including advance shipping notices as goods leave the factory bound for a specific store. In addition, the system tracks which goods are in each store's back room and on the sales floor, which have been sold and, in some cases, what has passed through the doors of a particular location. The firm aims to better ensure that "never out of stock" items are always on the shelf, says Joachim Wilkens, C&A Group's director of supply chain development. Such goods include women and children's underwear, men's and women's jeans, and men's suits, trousers and blazers.

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