Hobbycraft has reported encouraging financial results following significant investments in its Microsoft Dynamics NAV customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain systems.
Although annual profits halved for the craft retailer - a factor that CEO Caitrona Walsh put down to the £3 million investments made across IT systems, store openings and competitive pricing - the retailer has seen "record sales" in the past year. This included accelerated online growth and improved customer relations following a new implementation of supply chain and online trading platforms.
"Our performance in 2013/14 reflects investment in infrastructure and the implementation costs of the final stages of the Group's change programme to put in place our new supply-chain and on-line trading platform.
"We are now using this investment to grow store sales and our on-line presence, where we have already seen on-line sales more than double for each of the last two years."
Since launching the new Hobbycraft website, which is the platform for the group's multichannel marketing strategy across websites, postal catalogues, email, social media and mobile, it has seen a 140 percent increase in e-commerce.
Hobbycraft brought in system integrators K3 Retail in 2011 to overhaul its IT infrastructure, installing Microsoft Dynamics Nav CRM for head office, warehouse, websites and in-store systems. K3 installed the core Dynamics NAV software and integrated warehouse management and website features.
Profits before financial charges fell 52 percent to £7m. Sales increased 9 percent to £129.6 million, the private equity firm Bridgepoint said.
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