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JD Sports begins £10 million project to replace legacy system with Oracle software

Retail group plans to switch businesses over by 2015

Retail group JD Sports has committed to rolling out Oracle Retail software to replace its legacy IT systems over the next two years, in a project expected to cost at least £10 million.

Following a review process, JD Sports' board decided to replace its existing bespoke software with a Oracle Retail ERP system across its organisation, with legacy IT systems previously cited as an operational risk. One of the problems with the legacy system was the heavily reliance on a small number of key development staff, creating problems for recruiting employees with relevant technical knowledge of the language used in the legacy system code.

The Oracle retail software system, currently in early stages of development, will be implemented through 2013 and 2015, with parts of JD Sports' business brought on-line incrementally across its 503 stores in the UK, Ireland, Spain and France.

A JD Sports statement for its 2012 full year financial results read: "This project is in its early stages and we currently plan to bring the first of the Group's businesses on to this system in 2014."

"Thereafter, the retail businesses will be transferred in stages with all current retail businesses anticipated to be working on the new system by Autumn 2015."

JD Sports stated that the Oracle software was aimed at enabling "consistency and efficiency in commercial process, management and reporting", across all parts of its business.

The project will see retail group expand on its relationship with Oracle, having already successfully introduced Oracle Financials across its business.

In its financial results, the company indicated that its capital expenditure would remain high at £43.5 million, partly as a result of "significant investment" in the Oracle ERP system implementation.

Oracle's retail software has also been implemented by another UK retailer, supermarket firm WM Morrisons, which introduced Oracle retail suite of merchandising, planning and stores applications, plus the Oracle E-Business Suite for financials, HR/payroll and manufacturing.

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