Retailer Saks Inc is hoping to improve gross margins through its investment in the Markdown Optimizer from Spotlight Solutions Inc.

The initial phase of the project will begin immediately and will include Saks Fifth Avenue full line stores and include men's and women's private brand merchandise.

Said Bill Franks, Saks' executive vice president and CIO: "At Saks Incorporated, we are very focused on carefully managing our inventories and on improving inventory turnover and gross margins. The implementation of the Spotlight system is intended to enhance our ability to clear merchandise more efficiently so that we may better achieve these objectives."

The Spotlight Markdown Optimizer applies mathematical algorithms to sales, inventory, and other operating data in order to optimise, manage and recommend markdowns. The software also determines the optimal timing, depth, and location of markdowns enabling increases in gross margins.

With annual revenues exceeding $6 billion, Saks Incorporated operates its Saks Department Store Group with 41 Parisian specialty department stores and 203 traditional department stores under the names of Proffitt's, McRae's, Younkers, Herberger's, Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner's, and Boston Store. The company also operates Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, which consists of 62 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 51 Saks Off 5th stores, and Saks Direct.