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Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing

Case Study: Marks and Spencer Vs BHS

Retail Marketing

Case Study: Marks and Spencer Vs BHS

Retail Marketing


            Most business empires have been established as a result of having stable consumer retailer base. This is because most persons who purchase goods purchase them in small portions for daily use. Retail marketing is the concept where consumers are allowed to purchase good or merchandise from a store, supermarket or boutique.

            In the clothing industry, the use of retail marketing has helped in the establishment and development of some of the worlds leading fashion houses in the world.

            This research paper will focus on two of the best retail stores in the world, Marks and Spencer and the Bhs. These are retail stores that offer a variety of goods to their clients, the goods range from clothing, accessories, furniture among others. The Marks and Spencer is however famed for the being on of the leaders in the clothing industry.  The paper will seek to investigate and evaluate the two organizations in terms of their characteristics, history and performance as retailers. In addition to that the paper will try to discuss and analyze the two businesses in reference to the following retail marketing mix; product

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design, shelf price, brand image, advertising, product range, shelf space, logistics, information and customer relationships.

Marks and Spencer

            The Marks and Spencer company has than 900 stores in more than 40 locations around the world. The company was established way back in 1885 by two friends Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer (M&S, 2010). Apart from being the leader in the clothing industry, the company also sells other goods like food stuffs and accessories. The management and administration of any organization determines the success of the business, the Marks and Spencer Company restructured its management structure. It got rid of a few layers of in a process called de-layering, by so doing it improve its sales and marketing as well as the customer relationship management.

Fig1 below show the old model and new model of the Marks and Spencer Company

Source: Fig 1 shows the old and new models as adapted by Marks and Spencer Company

From The Times 100 <http://www.scribd.com/doc/6586668/Marks-and-Spencer-12-Full>

From the above administration model, it is evidence that the new model adapted is easy when it comes to delegation of duties and responsibilities in an organization that boosts of more than 6,000 employees (The Times 100).

The Marks and Spencer company has incorporated the four major marketing mix in all its areas of operation.

Product: The Company offers variety of products; however the striking feature is the packaging process of the products. Marks and Spencer believe in environmental conservational and are on the forefront in the fight of emission of toxic gases in the environment, as a result most of the packaging is in disposable and degradable packs. The company works is collaboration with a government body known as WRAP (Water & Resource Action Programme). The body helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more.

Promotion: The promotional aspect of the Marks and Spencer products is mainly through advertisement, however with the evolution of the internet and communication sector, the company has incorporated the use of the internet as its main tool of marketing as well as one of its main selling points. This is by E-commerce. The social networks face book and twitter have greatly helped in the marketing of the company’s products especially in areas where they do not have franchises.

Placement: The Company works in collaboration with other franchise especially in countries outside the United Kingdom to ensure that all its products are readily available. This is a strategy that has worked in its favor in the sense that it has helped it reduce expenditure of setting up new store and at the same time generate revenue.

Price: Marks and Spencer prices are determined by the location of the store. The prices in most stores are consumer friendly and in most cases cheaper than prices of other stores that offer the same products.


            The Bhs is not as huge as Marks and Spencer due to a number of factors; however the commonest is being the year it opened its business. The retail chain of stores opened its doors for business in the early 1920’s and with time it has tried the market that has been monopolized by Marks and Spencer. The Bhs underwent major restructuring in the 1970’s with an aim of expanding it consumer base. The company competes on quality and value, aiming at a less wealthy demographic than Marks and Spencer or John Lewis (Bhs, 2010). This is one of the differentiating features between the two companies, another distinction is that the Bhs specializes more in beauty products that whose majority of the clients are female where as M & S specializes in clothing and its target clients are mostly male.

            Thomas (2009), states that although Bhs possess a major threat to Marks & Spencer, it has along way to go since of the products it offers are replica to what M & S offers. There fore he adds that the introduction of other brands, particularly in food and beauty categories by the company, could bring a ‘glamour’ that would help Bhs dust its own image off. It has been observed that Bhs has imitated M & S in almost all sectors from the organizational model to the branding and packaging of their products (the marketing mix elements).

            For Bhs to make it in the ever growing retail stores sector, it has to extensively redefine the brands successfully and reduce product overlap.

Summation / Conclusion

            In any business, positive competition is healthy and it helps to gauge the performance of the business in comparison to its competitors. Competition is also the surest way of ensuring that monopoly which in most cases is blamed to be the cause of decline economy is eliminated.

            The Marks & Spencer company has been in operation for many years and its market base can not be easily matched by any rivals in the sector, however with creativity and innovations, the Bhs and other companies that would like to enter in the same field can make a difference and give the M & S a ran for its money.


Bhs (2010), Modern Living Made Easy. Retrieved April 28, 2010,

From http://www.bhs.co.uk/

M & S (2010). Your Marks and Spencer. Retrieved April 28, 2010,

 From http://www.marksandspencer.com/

The Times 100 (2010), Marks & Spencer: The Role of Training and Development in Carrier Progression. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from

Thomas, J (2009), Is Bhs doing a Marks & Spencer? Retrieved April 28, 2010, from


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