Microsoft Retail Management System Makes Significant Strides Toward Becoming Solution of Choice for Independent Retailers

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2005 — Microsoft Business Solutions, responding to independent retailers’ growing need for industry-specific point-of-sale (POS) solutions, is working with partners to meet the unique needs of customers using Microsoft
Business Solutions Retail Management System, a complete POS and retail store automation solution. This week at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention and EXPO in New York, Microsoft Business Solutions will showcase several new projects aimed at offering innovative, affordable, industry-specific POS solutions to independent retailers in target industries: gift and hobby, apparel, beer-wine-liquor, and sporting goods.

“Small retailers today identify with their niche vertical and are demanding POS solutions that not only fit their specific needs, but accommodate a tight budget,” said Brendan O’Meara, general manager of retail product management for Microsoft Business Solutions. “Together with our partners, we’re empowering the independent retailer by providing just that: industry-specific POS solutions at an attractive price point.”

Microsoft and Partners Respond to Industry-Specific Needs

Late last year Microsoft Business Solutions announced availability of industry-specific bundles of hardware and software for independent retailers that specialize in gifts and hobbies, beer-wine-liquor, apparel, and sporting goods. At the core of these offerings is Microsoft Retail Management System, which helps businesses save time and increase profits by enabling them to easily automate inventory management, expedite POS transactions, create effective productivity reports, track customer purchasing habits, and exercise greater control over the organization. The packages, which are being distributed by ScanSource Inc. and Tech Data Corp. to Microsoft Business Solutions certified partners, allow independent retailers to invest in a complete POS solution bundle at a lower cost than if they purchased the components separately.

Customers Move From a “Cash Register and a Smile” to POS Technology

One customer taking advantage of the gift store bundle is Toy Boat * Toy Boat * Toy Boat (TB3), an Orange County, Calif., toy store with locations in Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar and Newport Beach. With a fourth location opening this March in Fashion Island, a shopping center in Newport Beach, TB3 was looking to migrate from an Electronic Cash Register to an automated PC-based POS package. TB3 needed a solution that could track the flow of goods between all store locations, update inventory in real time, and automate ordering processes.

For a business traditionally run on a “cash register and a smile,” owners Gary and Diane Naumann confidently selected the Microsoft Retail Management System package for gift stores, knowing that Microsoft’s diligence in selecting hardware components was based on analysis and review of retailers like them in the gift and hobby industry. In the selection process, the Naumanns compared Microsoft Retail Management System with the leading POS solution and selected the Microsoft solution because of the specialized features and functionality it offers the gift industry as well as its overall price and functionality.

Big Names in Vertical Industries Get on Board With Microsoft Retail Management System

Top manufacturers and suppliers in several vertical retail industries also are taking note of the success of Microsoft Business Solutions’ POS solution for small retailers. Late last year, Giant Bicycle Inc., the second largest manufacturer of bicycles in the world, announced its endorsement of Microsoft Retail Management System and encouraged independent bike retailers that order parts through Giant Bicycle to adopt the technology to streamline ordering and shipping processes. Most recently, SCP Pool Corp. (PoolCorp), the world’s leading distributor of pool and spa supplies, made a splash in the industry by encouraging retailers of its pool and spa equipment to take advantage of Microsoft Retail Management System in their stores as well.

Building on the rich platform that Microsoft Retail Management System provides, Microsoft Business Solutions’ partner POSitive Technology and PoolCorp recently introduced ONTRAC, a turnkey solution for pool and spa retailers that includes hardware, software installation and support components. Backed by Microsoft Retail Management System and IBM SurePOS hardware, the solution allows pool and spa dealers to achieve complete integration of the supply chain, starting with a standardized item list that originates from PoolCorp. POSitive Technology will demonstrate this comprehensive connection of vendors and retailers at the ARTS Pavilion at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention and EXPO this week.

Comprehensive Payment Processing Benefits Independent Retailers in All Vertical Industries

To further lessen complexity and cost for independent retailers, late last year Microsoft Business Solutions announced availability of comprehensive payment processing for businesses that use Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System 1.2. BA Merchant Services LLC, Paymentech LP and Wells Fargo Merchant Services joined Citi Merchant Services, which in 2003 began providing services to retailers using the solution, as preferred acquirers that will offer fully integrated credit and debit processing to retail merchants using Microsoft Retail Management System 1.2 with Service Pack 2. The agreements eliminate retailers’ need to acquire and install costly middleware, such as standalone payment applications, typically used to integrate payment processing. Moreover, retailers that use the solution will no longer need a credit card terminal or dedicated phone line for transaction processing. Retailers that want integrated card processing included in Microsoft Retail Management System 1.2 are now able to simply set up an account with one of four industry-leading acquiring companies. These additional choices further differentiate Microsoft Retail Management System 1.2 as a premier technology solution for small and medium-sized independent retailers.

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offers integrated business applications and services that allow small and midsize organizations and divisions of large enterprises to connect employees, customers and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and analytics applications work with Microsoft products such as Office and Windows®
to streamline processes across an entire organization, giving businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions applications are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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