Macy's Fast-tracks Nationwide RFID Rollout
Macy’s, Inc. says that it's fast-tracking its planned RFID rollout in namesake Macy's and Bloomingdale’s stores. The department store chain says it is using radio frequency identification technology to manage merchandise inventories at the item level.
By the third quarter of 2012, the company expects to begin using RFID in all stores nationwide to count size-intensive "replenishment goods," those items regularly stocked and automatically resupplied as they are sold to customers. This represents about 30 percent of the company's sales.
Macy's, Inc. will be among the first retailers to implement RFID on a broad national scale. The company has been testing RFID technology for nearly two years in selected Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores and distribution centers. Use of RFID to precisely track replenishment goods on-hand by size, color and style is expected to be completed by fall of 2013 in all stores.
"To Macy's and Bloomingdale's, RFID is a tool to better serve customers and drive sales by ensuring we have the right product in the right place at the right time for our in-store and omnichannel shoppers," said Tom Cole, chief administrative officer of Macy's, Inc. "RFID will allow us to more frequently count item-level inventory with precision so our inventory is readily accessible to our customers. This is technology that has proven effective in our testing, and we believe now is the right time to roll out RFID aggressively."
With RFID, Macy's and Bloomingdale's store associates can count inventory significantly faster. This will enable multiple counts throughout the year compared with the current practice of taking a physical inventory once a year. Testing has shown that, on average, inventory accuracy can be maintained at 97 percent or better. Frequent counts will also ensure the correct placement of items in the right range of sizes, colors and styles on the selling floor.
Macy's is actively participating in industry collaboration with our suppliers and technology providers through the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association (VICS) and GS1. The company's merchandise vendors are a significant partner in the adoption process. "Our vendors are joining with us to adopt this technology, knowing the more precise inventory counts through RFID will reduce stock-outs and drive incremental sales opportunities," Cole said. "This is one of those genuine win-win-win situations in which customers, vendors and our company all benefit."
The initial 2012 launch of RFID technology will be in size-intensive replenishment categories such as men's furnishings, intimate apparel, men's slacks, denim and women's shoes in each store nationwide. Macy's and Bloomingdale's private brands are included in the initiative.
Macy's, Inc., with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation's premier retailers, with fiscal 2010 sales of $25 billion. The company operates about 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as well as the macys.com and bloomingdales.com websites. The company also operates four Bloomingdale's Outlet stores.