M&S’s strategic partnership with o9 Solutions aims to use the company’s AI-powered platform known as Digital Brain to reshape the retailer for sustainable growth and value creation by modernising its existing systems across merchandise planning, sales stock & intake, and range planning.

This follows M&S’s recent market update on Christmas trading, where the retailer revealed a 4.8% increase in Clothing & Home sales.

This initiative will consolidate these processes into a singular, integrated platform. The subsequent phase of the programme will witness the replacement and integration of M&S’ forecasting and replenishment systems onto the Digital Brain platform.

The capabilities of Digital Brain encompass merchandise financial planning, assortment planning, forecasting, allocation, replenishment, promotion and markdown optimisation, and supplier collaboration (including capacity and material planning and purchase orders).

Richard Price, managing director of clothing & home at M&S commented: “As we reshape for growth, we are investing to modernise and upgrade our systems so we can create greater visibility and collaboration between teams and suppliers, improve planning & availability and enable us to be more tailored and localised with our ranging.

“By having an end-to-end planning platform, we will be able to better use data and AI to inform decision-making and future planning so we can continue to be more relevant, more often to our customers.”

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The selection of o9’s Digital Brain platform was motivated by its capability to integrate key retail planning functions across departments into a single, flexible, and extensible data model. This is powered by o9’s proprietary technology, the Enterprise Knowledge Graph.

The CEO of o9 Solutions, Chakri Gottemukkala said: “We have a unique opportunity to help an iconic brand jump into the future with our next-generation platform as it reshapes for growth.”

The platform’s rollout over the next three years is anticipated to make M&S’ Clothing & Home business more agile, interconnected, and responsive to customer needs and emerging trends.