Founded in Lisbon in 1986 by Marina Reis Ramos and Mário Tendeiro, A Loja do Gato Preto sells Portuguese homeware and decoration items under the slogan “Free-spirited homes, happy owners.”
To be included in the store, products had to follow two rules: to be Portuguese and to be a handicraft. Even though the company was very successful, the concept proved to be too limited, and Gato Preto expanded their selection to furniture, lighting, textiles for the house and decoration, tableware and more from all around the world. In 1999, the company started designing its own products. Today, a large proportion of the items on sale are exclusively designed at the company. They also decided to go international by opening stores in Spain.
As the business expanded both product- and location-wise, Gato Preto realized they needed to strengthen their IT capabilities. The company needed a solution that could bring together the whole operation. The company, that was already using an LS Retail solution in several of the stores, decided to implement LS Nav based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a complete POS and ERP system. The solution was deployed with the help of Arquiconsult, an LS Retail partner in Portugal and Spain.
Thanks to a single application that covers anything from POS terminals, store systems, back office and head office, today Gato Preto’s system integration issues are a thing of the past. As Rui Santos, General Manager at Arquiconsult put it, “LS Nav delivers the breadth and depth of functionality demanded by Gato Preto, without the need to build, manage and maintain multiple applications and interfaces. It delivers improved merchandise decision planning, and enhanced scalability and real-time performance reports.”
With LS Nav, the company has an overview of long term sales data based on posted sales data. This allows managers to see how stores have been performing, drilling down to individual stores or groups of stores. Management can also gauge the effectiveness of specific price promotions and even view the performance of individual item categories and product groups. The data is always accurate because as the owner, Mario Tendeiro, puts it, “LS Nav works off a single database, and therefore, there is only one version of the truth.” An hourly sales distribution report gives Gato Preto the possibility of viewing how its stores are performing within different periods of the day, and check sales distribution based on:
Points of Sale
number of customers
number of items
average basket size
Because LS Nav consolidates trading, invoicing, and ordering systems into a homogenous platform, Gato Preto today can produce sophisticated reports. Today Gato Preto can confidently expand, confident of retaining effective management and overview of all stores in all countries.
By integrating the data flow between all retail and accounting functions, Gato Preto has eliminated data errors and manual data processing. All processes in the company are now much quicker because data flows seamlessly from one part of the business to another. Another benefit is that head office now has total control over prices. The organization can now direct and enforce store prices from head office.
LS Nav also offers a human resource management integration that was a perfect fit for the company’s HR, as it is tightly integrated with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, particularly the Accounting, Sales and Collections, Purchasing and Payments. Payroll in retail companies requires a flexible solution, compliant with turnover, shifts, absence and overtime registration. Due to the wide geographical spread of the Gato Preto stores, several different agreements with different demands had to be addressed. LS Nav can cope with the different legal requirements in Portugal and in Spain, thus accompanying Gato Preto’s expansion and allowing for both countries’ payroll (involving over 1000 employees) to be performed by only two people.
We’re a far cry from the typical mass-market retailer; our stores needed a scalable solution that could provide a real backbone for the future. It was clear from the start that we needed a single technology solution that could give us better access to more accurate information – and our main focus was that it should be simple.