Matalan partners with SML to roll out item-level RFID across 220 stores


SML RFID, a global leader in delivering high-performance RFID solutions for the retail market, today announced that it has deployed SML’s RFID tags and SML’s Clarity® item-level solutions for Matalan across all 220 stores in the UK.

SML RFID has been working with Matalan for the past 2 years and the retailer determined it needed to improve its inventory accuracy across its entire business. To facilitate this, it embarked on deploying RFID into 2 pilot stores using SML’s Clarity® software suite. The outcome was that the retailer discovered various benefits, most importantly that its inventory accuracy wasn’t at an acceptable level.

Within each of the two store pilots Matalan staff were able to count in excess of 100 thousand items of merchandise over a 3 hour window. The counts were done on a weekly basis, and the counts achieved inventory accuracy of >95%. The solution is also able to accurately receive stock from its central distribution centre; with delivery discrepancies reported back to the Warehouse Management system.

Following the six-month pilot across two locations Matalan has now deployed RFID across all 220 of its stores in the UK in order to enhance its inventory accuracy and deliver on the promise of omnichannel to improve the shopping experience. The store colleagues will also provide a better customer experience by using the real time stock enquiry and search/find functionality. The solution utilises over 900 Hand Held Terminals from Zebra Technologies with an Android Touch Computer across the estate, and the data is stored in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform.

Working in partnership between Matalan and SML, the solution was fully tested and rolled out to the 220 stores in a 4-month period. Matalan is now looking to deploy various innovations to leverage the investment in RFID.

Howard Reed, CTO at Matalan, commented: “As a business, we are committed to adopting appropriate transformative technologies that enable us to address the ever-changing needs of our customers. Our initial pilots using SML’s Clarity® RFID solution allowed us to gain a significantly improved view of our inventory and the return on investment across the business was apparent.

“Without RFID technology, we will not be able to deliver on our customers’ shopping experience needs.”

Commenting on the project, Dean Frew, SML’s CTO and senior VP of RFID Solutions, says: “The past year has been significant for item-level RFID technology adoption as more retailers report on their return on investment using the technology. Matalan is a prime example of how a retailer can utilize the technology to improve its daily operations, deliver on an enhanced customer experience and provide multi-channel shopping opportunities. We are honoured to be selected as their technology partner.”