Marks & Spencer Clothing Company was found 125 ago and since then it has been operating across the UK and other European countries for all these years. However, with introduction of J and J clothing company branches in Europe 2008, the competition level for the market share has increased because each retailing company competes to have a share. Other retailers providing the same clothing services include: Topshop, Forever 21, Zara and Topman. The later, occupy a smaller market share than the first two retailing companies above mentioned. Other competitors in the same clothing retail industry include the super markets, cited to provide rival discounts to the customers. Over the recent years, the clothing industry in UK has dramatically changed as a result of the significant changes in growth; marketing strategists describe it as one of the most competitive markets across Europe (Lockwood et al 2012). It has brought in globalization which has triggered consumer’s awareness, leading to change in consumer demand and hence corporate business force to reshuffle some of the outdated marketing strategies in order to meet the consumer needs.
Currently, the Marks & Spencer clothing company has over 730 branches across the country and Europe, hence making the highest sales volumes in the region, compared to its rivals. Statistically, women and children form the largest part of UK clothing industry and thus the company possess over 60% women and children clothing wear. Moreover, the company has over 29% of all men clothing. To add on that, the retailers’ authorities revealed that the products mentioned above were the fastest moving in the market, compared to the rivals. However, in 2010, it was found that the company saw clothing sales volume decline by 2.6%, while that of the rival, Asda retailers increased by 9.1%. This was due to most of the consumers, perceiving that women wears in Asda were of high quality and the company sold them at lower prices.
The main objective of this essay is to provide an analysis of company’s business environments, a discussion on the company’s resources such as assets, strengths and weakness, segmentation techniques of the markets by the company, and also provide a discussion on whether the three mentioned elements of marketing strategies used by the company can improve its performance. If not, so what are some of the recommendations that can be employed by the company before providing conclusion remarks?
In this area, the analysis of the Marks & Spencer retailing company based on PEST and Porter’s analysis are provided. Moreover, a discussion of the company’s assets, strengths and weaknesses are also advanced. Lastly, we discussed the segmentation with the clothing retail sector and the targets, likely to be taped by the company from the rivals.
Analysis of the Business Environment
In this report, some of the external and internal environmental factors which have affected the marketing strategies of the Marks & Spencer as a private clothing company are highlighted. Before planning or even making any decision relating to the market, the organization must be aware of the impact, created by the external factors such as political, economic, social and technological (PEST). These PEST factors have found to influence the business environment across the whole Europe in various ways, for example, any political changes such as a change in government can definitely affect the Marks & Spencer workers (Markides 2011). The company can come up with new minimum wages or even taxation policies found to induce salary and wage increase. This has definitely found to increase the cost of operation of the company in the market. This was witnessed in Italy when the government introduced wage reforms and, thus, the various branches in the company could not withstand the costs in the markets.
Secondly, the company must consider the social factors, such as demographic and lifestyle factors found to influence the mood of the market. According to a survey, carried out in July 2010, about the customers’ age, lifestyle needs and wants, preferences and the consumer’s existence in the clothing retail industry, the market strategist game to identify that over 49% of the consumers aged between 26-32 years old preferred the Marks & Spencer retailer’s products compared to those of their rivals. On the other hand, 18-21 years old youths had a higher proportion of 45% prefer shopping in the rival retails outlets and more so in the supermarket (Michman 2011). In addition to that, over 68% of those interviewed were females and children, while the rest comprised of men. This reveals that the company targets the young ladies and children, as they lead to highest and fastest sales.
Marks & Spencer Company markets clothing that reflects modern fashion, high quality clothes, and the prices are relatively affordable, compared to those of the competitors. The consumers were found to be trendy and fashionable high class individuals who like to buy highly fashionable clothes and high quality products at relatively low charges. Moreover, the marketing management team was found to be well acquitted with the critical needs and wants of the consumers, as they follow a fashion clothing trend tightly for some periods before stocking it for the customers. Besides, they tapped the consumers by providing a variety of accessories and other merchandise based products mix within the premises and which match the cloths. In conclusion, the company was found to be well savvy with the social trends and thus beat the rival to hold the highest portion of the market. This has seen the clothing company excel in the market.
Moreover, other business environment factors, found to influence the company, are economic factors such as inflation rates, leading to high costs in production and advertising. So far, the current inflation rates prevailing in the United Kingdom economy and even other parts of the world, where over 55 branches are located saw the retail outlet perform poorly, hence the company needs to come up with new marketing strategies to attack the problem.
Lastly, technological changes were found to affect the market stability of the company, leading to a stiff competition from the rivals, such as Walmart supermarkets, Alda, and Zara among others. The technology was found to create globalization, affecting the company across the borders, economically and socially; for example, last year, some of the rivals updated their new websites to offer online buying, hence this lead to decline in the market share. The market competition resulted to the chief executive of the Marks & Spencer outlet disclosed that the sudden decline in the Marks & Spencer clothing prices was merely tactical during the winter season as the rival competitors such as Aldas and Debenhams always run high promotions attracting all the customers that wanted knit wears for the cold season. The inevitable results of the price cut were a short fall in the profits of the company by 30 million dollars (Jacob et al 2011).
Company Resources, Strength and Weakness
The company resources such as assets and financial stability determine the strengths and weaknesses of any company in the market. It is well known that for a decade, Marks & Spencer has remained to be the leading UK clothing market retail company because of its exceptional resources and management strengths. One of the resources found to improve the company’s performance was the chilled convenience foods introduced in the stores since 1980s. The foods were sold at affordable prices, being of high quality. Secondly, the company had adequate financial resources from the high market sale volumes to meet various expenses, such as advertisements.
Moreover, other strengths of the company were the marketing philosophy of producing high quality products with a well-recognized brand name, coupled with affordable prices. This has helped to build the reputation of the company for excellent services and value for money and hence succeed to lead the market. Another asset was the St Michael brand name, which was seen by the consumer as a source for quality products to the audience. Lastly, the stores are located in well-known populated streets in UK and attract a lot of customers (Bertocchi et al. 2011).
However, in the recent past, the market share of the company has been found to decline. The company has several weaknesses that were reducing the market share. First, it has strong competitors in the retail sector such as Tesco, Asda, Walmart supermarket and the Zara Company. They were found to provide not only high quality products but also value added clothing, capable of attracting even the loyal customers. In addition to that, the products are marketed through online websites. Lastly, social environment was found to change the lifestyle of people and hence result in a market decline. Financial constraint is another weakness that the company is facing in advertisement.
Market Segmentation with the Retail Sector and the Company
Segmentation offers several benefits to the consumers and the company. The company segments the markets based on demographic factors such as age, lifestyle and gender. It currently dominates over 60% of all the youths and women in UK. The customers have been loyal, as they feel satisfied by the affordable prices and quality products offered by the company. The company targets youths from 18-32 years and young women below 45 years. On attracting the men, it stocks men wears for those aged 30 years and above, as they form a large proportion of the high income group and executive based occupations holders (Michman 2011).
The main segments targeted by the company are based on age, income social class and even lifestyle. In order to meet this market segmentation, the company came up with three ranges of customers in 2001. The customers were classified as perfect, per una and autograph consumer based lifestyle. The market segments serving these ranges put into consideration the time and feeling of the customers when being served. This was found to attract a lot of customers to the company stores. The company currently uses the geographical and psychographic segmentations in the market. The company has now relocated over 55 branches to India, as it forms a higher market potential for its products. Secondly, it has learned that the customers want cheap and affordable clothing and hence, the company provides discounts to all the loyal customers.
The Three Elements and Business Performance
The management of the company advocates that favorable technological, political, social and environmental factors are necessary for the increased sales performance. Moreover, for the company to continue performing better, it must have adequate financial assets and other products resources, such as good image and high quality services. The company currently has adequate resources, found to make the company strong to lead in the market. However, the market shares declined in recent years due to social factors and competition leading to decline in business performance. Lastly, the company has also improved the business performance through demographic segmentation of the market, as discussed above; the three elements like environment, business resources and market segmentation are vital for improving the performance of the company (Lockwood et al 2012).
Marks & Spencer Clothing Company can boost its sales volume through embracing proper products definition which will indirectly positively improve the staffs’ understanding of the products and eventually the consumers will be provided with the quality clothing. Secondly, it is recommended for the company to adequately counter the emanating competitiveness and economic issues that have adversely affected the sales volumes and reduced the customers’ population. Thirdly, proper marketing plan ideas will help the management to allocate the resources well, devise the best and less costly distribution channels that will inevitably give the retail outlet a higher competitive advantage than the other rival retail outlets. Moreover, the retail outlet will be able to understand the customers’ needs well as most of the customers move to consume the products of the rivals, either because their wants and needs are being ignored or they are being charged higher prices