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Moods of Norway Opts for Checkpoint RFID Labels, Tests Fixed Readers

The Scandinavian clothing company has seen a 20 percent boost in online sales from using handheld readers to take in-store inventory, and plans to pilot the adoption of fixed readers at its DC and stores.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 25, 2015

For the past year, Moods of Norway's clothing suppliers have been RFID-tagging all garments sold by the stores that the Norwegian retailer operates. The company announced that its suppliers are now using Checkpoint Systems Zephyr 2 EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID labels, which employees read weekly at 14 of its stores in order to improve inventory accuracy. Based on how the RFID system has improved stock-level accuracy, says Hans Petter Hübert, Moods of Norway's supply chain manager, the store is able to ship goods to online customers from the store location closest to each shopper. That, he says, would have been impossible without RFID, since inventory accuracy was simply not high enough to ensure that goods were available.

Moods of Norway is also testing fixed RFID readers at its distribution center for receiving and possibly shipping. The company has already tested a fixed reader at one store for inventory-tracking purposes, with future pilots in the works for 2016, both at stores and the DC.

At 14 of Moods of Norway's Scandinavian stores, all garments are tagged at the source via Checkpoint Zephyr 2 EPC UHF RFID labels, enabling the stores' staff to take inventory on a weekly basis.
The retailer operates 18 Moods of Norway stores—most are in Norway, with the exception of one in Sweden and another in California—and three of those 18 shops are discount outlets. It sells clothing and accessories at each store; approximately 90 percent of its sales are clothing rather than accessories. All 14 of the company's Scandinavian, non-outlet stores are now equipped with handheld RFID readers provided by Nedap, while the firm is still in discussions about implementing the system at the California store.

In January 2014, Moods of Norway began testing RFID technology and selected Nedap's !D Hand handheld RFID reader to enable personnel to perform inventory counts on a weekly basis (see Norwegian Apparel Company in Good Mood Over RFID). Employees walked through the store carrying an !D Hand and an Apple iPod, capturing the ID numbers of all garment tags in the store-front and back rooms, and the reader then forwarded the collected data to the iPod via a Bluetooth connection. That information was forwarded to Nedap's cloud-based server, which displayed a dashboard viewable by company personnel.

Initially, only men's shirts and suits were being tagged, but suppliers are now attaching tags to every garment sold at the 14 participating stores. Moods of Norway recently switched to Zephyr 2 RFID labels due to their low cost and the availability of Checkpoint production services to get the labels to suppliers worldwide. The majority of suppliers are currently located in China, though Hübert says about half of all products will be made in Europe by next year. Whether in Asia or Europe, he notes, Checkpoint can quickly provide the RFID labels that suppliers need.

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