Canadian Tire gets rolling on transaction upgrade

Canadian Tire is renovating its transaction processing platform to handle the sales growth expected from its expansion plans.

The home hardware, auto parts, sports and leisure retailer Tuesday said it has selected a product

called Postilion from Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Mosaic Software to handle authentication switching and routing throughout its chain of retail stores, gas bars, and Web site. Canadian Tire stores will be brought onto the new system first before adding Partsource, an automotive supply specialty chain, which is also expected to benefit from the installation. The first crop of stores are expected to go live with the software in May.

In 2001, Canadian Tire outlined a strategy to improve service and add products that it said would continue to grow revenue. Canadian Tire has experienced a 10 per cent increase in transactions each year for the past 5 years. Rick Bankes, director of business solutions delivery at Canadian Tire Financial Services, said the software is one of the elements that will contribute to that strategy.

“”We wanted to make sure that anything else that we took on could handle the growth in transactions that we’ve been experiencing,”” he said. “”We already have 600 outlets attached to this thing.””

As a credit or debit card is used in a Canadian Tire store, gas bar or online, the authorization transaction goes through the Postilon environment, which routes it to the credit card networks through a third party. The Mosaic environment will process 20 to 25 transactions per second, Bankes said.

Mosaic Software executive vice-president of marketing Chris Klein said the company has done similar projects with Marks and Spencer in England and a number of international grocery stores, but Canadian Tire represents a much wider variety of transactions.

“”It’s a huge opportunity for us,”” he said. “”This happens to be quite a mix of different types of stores coming through the same Canadian Tire network,”” he said.

Canadian Tire has been handling transaction processing with a legacy application, which Bankes did not name. The installation is based in Canadian Tire Financial Service’s operation in Welland, Ont. “”It was more of a closed architecture,”” Bankes said of the legacy system.

New stores will be immediately added to the transaction processing system, Bankes said, though the growth transaction volumes is hard to estimate. “”It really depends on if it’s a replacement store or a brand-new location,”” he said. “”If it’s a replacement, it tends to be a 50 per cent increase (in transaction volumes) over the prior store.””

Klein said Postilion, which is based on Windows 2000, allows users to incorporate additional functionality as needed.

“”A lot of our clients are adding pre-paid products at the point sale,”” he sai

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