Fashion Biz Veteran Joins RMSA Tech Firm

After three decades in the apparel industry, Donald Reichman, who has represented various womenswear brands, has joined technology company RMSA Retail Solutions.

While Reichman will continue to represent fashion lines with his company Reichman Associates, he will also work as a senior analyst for RMSA, headquartered in Riverside, Calif. The company publishes open-to-buy management software that helps retailers plan their inventory, Reichman said.

“My business always has been to make retailers as profitable as they can be. In this case, I’m also representing a service to help retailers plan balanced inventories by category, so they don’t buy too much or too little,” Reichman said.

RMSA has been publishing open-to-buy programs for retailers since the 1950s. During the Eisenhower administration, the company ran forecasts for its clients through mainframe computers.

In 2011, RMSA introduced cloud-based management programs. Part of Reichman’s job will be to introduce former RMSA clients to the cloud-based program, called Fresco. It offers retailers information from the “cloud,” or an Internet-based program that can be retrieved on any device.

Open-to-buy management software is a growing field that tailors programs for retailers, ranging from those with major fleets to mom-and-pop operations.

Many small, independent retailers continue to work out their open-to-buy budgets by pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets, Jill Mazur said. She is an independent business consultant focusing on technology.

She believes that open-to-buy programs are increasingly seen as crucial for retailers, especially in an era when technology is being made available to even the smallest retailers, with point-of-sales systems such as Square. “It makes you a smarter retailer,” Mazur said. “It helps you plan what you need to purchase, and it gives you a picture of what you don’t need.”

Barbara Miller, RMSA’s chief operating officer, said her company’s program starts with a retailer’s point-of-sale report. Retailers send their POS reports into the company’s Fresco system. The system compiles monthly data and develops a forecast for clients’ stores.

Part of RMSA’s mission is to develop analytical reports. They include information on which items and categories are moving slowly, issues with markdowns and what may be over the horizon for their inventory. “Data crunching is a retailer’s worst nightmare,” Miller said. “Our programs give them precise planning information.”

RMSA’s reports are delivered to clients through information archived on Fresco. Clients are not required to invest in any special equipment or terminals, according to RMSA. The company also offers consulting services by analysts to go over the information and make recommendations.

With e-commerce becoming an increasingly important profit center for retailers, RMSA’s Fresco program also tracks e-commerce sales. The program treats e-commerce operations as a separate store from a clients’ physical store, Miller said.