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November 30, 1997updated 01 Sep 2016 5:56pm


By CBR Staff Writer

ICL Plc has won some serious affirmation for its Windows NT-based GlobalStore retail systems architecture with an ú80m contract to supply a new point of sale system to UK retail chain Marks & Spencer Plc, owner of Brooks Brothers and Kings Supermarkets in the US, which the firm will roll out to all its stores throughout the UK and Europe. ICL has been selected as the prime contractor on the project, and will design and implement the system, as well as sourcing best of breed hardware and software, some of which will be its own. The company will not say how much of the ú80m will go to ICL. GlobalStore is the cornerstone of ICL’s retail systems offering, and is an NT component-based system using open standards such as COM and ActiveX. Marks & Spencer’s current point of sales system was also supplied by ICL, back in 1984, and John Sacher, director responsible for information technology at the high street giant says it was coming to the end of its life-cycle. Due to its age, it was difficult to upgrade and to link to other systems within the company. The store decided it needed to adopt an open systems strategy, to give it the freedom to get best of breed hardware and software, and to build a new system which would be flexible and scalable enough to support its planned international expansion. It has been working with ICL since 1995 on designing and developing the new system, based on the GlobalStore architecture, and is currently completing a trial in seven of its UK stores. It will start the roll out, to its more than 300 stores in the UK and Europe in March 1998, and at the rate of around 20 stores a month, hopes to complete the installation by autumn 1999. The new system is fully Year 2000-compliant, and apparently ready for EMU, economic and monetary union. It offers enhanced point of sale operations, and links to back-office systems so that operators can manage most sales without calling a supervisor. The point of sale units can also be accessed remotely, for on-line maintenance and support. Both Marks & Spencer and ICL seem to be backing Microsoft Corp’s NT in a big way. Sacher says Microsoft has shown considerable commitment to the retail sector, and the two companies meet regularly to discuss requirements. ICL has based its main retail strategy on Microsoft systems, and will next week announce a major new architecture for UK local government, which will also be based on NT.

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