US Marine Corps Exchange uses SAS® retail analytics for more precise merchandise planning, price optimization

Marines and their families benefit from more profitable operations

Marine Corps Exchanges (MCX) have been proudly serving the needs of Marines and their families since 1897. Marines consistently rate the MCX as one of their top non-pay benefits and rely on its wide assortment of merchandise, convenience and fair prices. To ensure that its customers' needs continue to be met, the MCX will use SAS® retail analytics to improve merchandise and assortment planning, and increase profits. 

With operations at 17 Marine Corps installations located around the world, the MCX is a full-service retail operation, providing Marines and their families with an inventory comparable to large retail chains like Target and Walmart. However, unlike commercial chains, the MCX reinvests its profits into services provided by Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) that improve quality of life for current and retired Marines and their families, such as sports activities, community parks and recreation centers, support programs, and entertainment activities. 

The MCX will use SAS to perform cluster analyses, which will help the MCX gain better insight into the unique and changing needs of the local population. Some areas contain more retirees; others skew toward young, single people; while others contain more families. SAS analyzes population data, as well as historic sales data to identify seasonal and other trends that cause fluctuations in supply and demand.

MCX will use SAS for merchandise planning to make sure the local populations can get the products they need, when they need them. MCX will be able to optimize everyday regular prices, promotional prices and markdown pricing to better manage overall category demand throughout the product life cycle, so that inventory is turned over in a way that maximizes profits.

Previously, the planning cycle has taken up to a year. MCX needed the ability to easily produce reports from plans and move beyond offline, manually intensive reporting. MCX will also have the ability to cluster stores and take planning from the department level down to the item level. They can invest more in items whose demand is growing (electronic games, for example) and reduce investment in items that are not coming off the shelves.

MCX will use technologies including SAS Demand Forecasting for Retail, SAS Business Intelligence and SAS Merchandise Financial Planning to perform the sophisticated analyses.

"SAS is proud to provide technology to the MCX to help them serve their customers better and increase profitability," said Karen Knowles, President of SAS Federal. "It is particularly rewarding to know that the profits go back into the community and ultimately help improve the quality of life of our fighting men and women and their loved ones."


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