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In July 1996, the first Pier 1 store opened in Japan and for the first three days set worldwied Pier 1 sales records for new store openings. By the end of 1996, an additional 4 store had been opened. Pier 1 Imports, the Fort Worth, TX based retailer expanded their franchised operations into Japan by pairing their core copetencies in buying, merchandising and logistics with strategic alliances. Since one of the biggest hurdles to opening stores with parking in Japan is limited real estate, Pier 1 capitalized on their relationship with Skylark, Inc., the larges family-style restaurant operator in Japan with 1,300 locations. Their strategy was to roll-out stores by converting existing locations into Pier 1 Imports stores that offer parking. They also hired IBM Consulting to develop a "robust and functional" retail system that would be capable of handling everything from point-of-sale to inventory management. They used core merchandising, management and point-of-sale modules from GERS Retail Systems which were ported to IBM 4690 POS terminals and an RS/6000 host in Tokyo. The result is a system that minimizes the significant cultural and language differences while fully implement the required information technology (IT) function. For more informaton on this system fax Furniture World at: 800-784-8488.

Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers