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Swiss Farms Taps Microsoft to Handle Expansion

REDMOND, Wash. -- Swiss Farms, the Philadelphia-based drive-thru convenience store retailer, will support the launch of a corporate and franchise system growth plan with new technology from Microsoft, the Pacific Northwest-based technology company announced this week.

Swiss Farms, which currently operates 13 stores and is about to launch a franchise operation that is expected to add 100 franchisees within the next five years, selected Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail to support this effort and to integrate its point-of-sale (POS) data with back-office operations.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail is a powerful solution that links point-of-sale terminals with the Microsoft Dynamics AX comprehensive business-management solution. AX for Retail was previewed last week at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo in New York and is expected to be available in summer of this year.

"We needed to be able to scale more rapidly as we begin our franchising efforts, and it was important to be able to integrate our sales points with back-office financials," said Swiss Farms President Paul Friel. "Our previous technology didn't offer these capabilities and lacked functionality for tracking franchise sales, customer loyalty, inventory or Web ordering. With Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, we gained every one of these features and more."

Swiss Farms chose Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail after an in-depth evaluation process. Working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Columbus IT, an early global partner in the development of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Swiss Farms selected Microsoft's solution over other industry-specific retail solutions. Swiss Farms became the first Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail customer in the United States, and is anticipating considerable benefits from the solution's implementation.

"With Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, we will be able to maintain a single database that incorporates sales and customer information from all stores," Friel said. "We'll also be able to better control and centralize pricing at the point-of-sale terminals. This solution will suggest the size and quantity of items we should order, based on sales trends mined from the database, and recommend how goods should be distributed among stores."

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail will provide a robust foundation on which Swiss Farms can pursue its growth vision of a well-established local brand and unique shopping concept through franchise operations, with a focus on customer service, according to David Willis, corporate vice president for Microsoft's U.S. Dynamics business.

Swiss Farms began in 1968 as the retail outlet for a family owned and operated dairy. The neighborhood stores have been providing fresh products to their loyal customers in a unique, fast and friendly format that sets them apart from other small grocery or convenience stores. Swiss Farms today is in the process of re-inventing itself and its brand. The company recently opened a new prototype store and is making investments in technology and design, preparing to expand aggressively in the northeast.

In 2009 Swiss launched a franchise operation that is expected to add 100 franchisees within five years.

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