Belk uses SAS to satisfy customers with the right sizes in the right stores

Fast, powerful SAS Analytics help department store associates work smarter and focus on customer needs

Belk wants its customers to find what they’re looking for every time they shop. So when the leaders at the Southern department store chain decided to modernize the software system they use to keep the right selection of clothing styles and sizes in each store, they considered a variety of options. And when they saw the power of SAS® Analytics in action, they looked no further. Deployed in 2012, SAS Analytics has since helped the retailer grow natural margins with exclusive private brands by as much as 230 basis points over a four-year period.

“SAS is best-in-class,” said Tim Carney, Director of Planning and Allocation at Belk. “The SAS system is fast and efficient. It’s eye popping to see the tool in action. Belk has nearly 300 stores and, in a matter of seconds, SAS delivers exactly what we need. The performance of the applications has been top-notch since the first day.” Carney will discuss Belk’s use of the software at SAS Booth 3637 during NRF19 on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

With Belk’s omnichannel expansion, the company needed multichannel profiles to cover both e-commerce and in-store customers. SAS helps the Belk team anticipate how much merchandise will be sold when a product is out of stock so future orders and allocations can be adjusted based on demand rather than gross sales alone. Belk integrated SAS into its order entry, replenishment and allocation systems to better capture the size demand across its end-to-end buying process. “One of our initial goals was to improve profitability by size,” Carney said. “When we started this journey, we recognized the need to improve profitability on the less popular sizes to drive Belk’s overall natural margins. We can see the impact of SAS Analytics when we reduce the profitability variance between sizes. Belk has seen the profitability variance by size be reduced by anywhere between 20 to 50 percent year over year on some of our biggest-volume private brands.”

Tom Nystrom, Senior Vice President and General Merchandising Manager for Men’s and Kids at Belk, said SAS optimization analytics is a sophisticated planning and ordering system that maximizes the Belk team’s efficiency. “Our team now works smarter and spends more time analyzing rather than inputting data, which ultimately improves our ability to satisfy customers.”  

“Rapid adoption AI, analytics and machine learning creates a great opportunity for traditional retailers to reinvent their core processes,” said Dan Mitchell, Director of SAS Global Retail and CPG Practice. “The intelligent automation of how we build assortments, order and fulfill merchandise turns what used to be a manual burden into competitive advantage over online competitors. More accurate forecasts, merchandising decisions and adaptive fulfillment, mean retailers like Belk are more responsive to consumers and better able to innovate.”

To learn more about how SAS supports omnichannel retailing, download The Real-Time Predictive Commerce Playbook for CMOs, a white paper developed by SAS and Brian Solis from Altimeter Research.

Follow SAS on Twitter at @SASsoftware and @SASRetail. Follow NRF 2019 news at #SASatNRF

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Belk uses SAS Analytics to help customers find what they’re looking for every time they shop.