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Circuit City To Upgrade Point-Of-Sale Systems

Circuit City Stores Inc. has tapped IBM to help it revamp its in-store, point-of-sale systems and explore innovative technologies such as wireless checkout devices. The electronics retailer's objective is to lower its point-of-sale costs by moving from custom systems to off-the-shelf hardware and software.

Retailer's IT staff will focus on business objectives, CIO Michael Jones.

Retailer's IT staff will focus on business objectives, CIO Jones says.

"Point-of-sale isn't a competitive advantage for us," says CIO Michael Jones, who says he'd rather see his IT staffers focused more on data mining and inventory forecasting, among other things.

Circuit City, which posted a loss from continuing operations of $5.2 million in the quarter ended May 31, hasn't yet determined how much it will save by moving to the new systems, Jones says. Terms of the deal with IBM weren't disclosed.

With the help of IBM, Circuit City plans to roll out the point-of-sale systems at more than 600 stores beginning next spring with an eye to finishing the installation by February 2006. The systems will be based on IBM's SurePOS 300 systems and will run on the Linux operating system. They also will include software from retail software specialist 360Commerce Inc. Circuit City has used a custom version of 360Commerce's software since 1999 but will move to the vendor's standard offering. "We want to be less customized," Jones says.

Circuit City wants to move to the standard 360Commerce offering without losing some of the custom functions it built into the program--such as Express Pickup technology that lets online shoppers pick up merchandise at brick-and-mortar locations--so it's essentially giving the enhancements it created to 360Commerce. "It will then be available to everyone," Jones says. The point-of-sale systems will be linked to an enhanced enterprise data warehouse that IBM is building for Circuit City using DB2 database software and pSeries eServers.

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