Assignment brief

Prepare a report comparing the retail strategy and implementation of two retailers with a UK presence competing in the same market sector (based on both desk research and store visits) in the light of the competitive environment.

 Some guidance on the Assignment brief

Two retailers

Each student will select the two companies they wish to investigate and analyse. Students in the same seminar group can not select the same two retailers. Therefore, you need to register your choice of stores with your seminar leader by the end of the second week, on a first come first served basis.

Example of department stores

Student A selects John Lewis Partnership and Selfridges

Student B selects Debenhams and Selfridges

Student C selects Selfridges and Marks and Spencer

Student D selects John Lewis Partnership and Marks and Spencer

The sectors of coffee shops/fast food outlets are not available to students as we will be working on these sectors in seminars.

Store choices will be registered on a first come first served basis starting on the day after the first lecture. Please email your proposed store choice to your seminar leader. YOU MUST HAVE CONFIRMATION OF YOUR STORE CHOICES BY YOUR SEMINAR LEADER BEFORE YOU PROCEED.

UK presence

Each company should be a multi-store retailer brand (chain) although they do not need to be public companies, UK owned or national chains they should have a presence of three or more sites in London.

Same market sector

The pair of stores to be analysed is subject to seminar leader’s agreement (if in doubt discuss this with your seminar leader).

(based on both desk research and store visits)

Research should be broad and deep. Read retail theory, sector and company information and observe stores. Your report should have at least 5 academic references, beyond the references to other secondary sources.

Evaluate the retailers’ retail strategy and implementation in the light of the competitive environment

Your analysis should focus on the following:

Situation Analysis: Evaluate the sector in which the selected retailers operate and how their current retail strategies address the emerging opportunities and threats. Tools that can prove useful here: PESTLE analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces analysis, Competition (Direct and indirect) analysis, SWOT analysis.

Objectives: Compare and contrast the objectives that are driving the selected retailers’ retail strategies.

Positioning, Targeting and Image: Compare and contrast the selected retailers’ strategic positioning and their target market(s). Evaluate their image.

Retail mix: Compare and contrast the selected retailers’ retail mix: range of merchandise; pricing; communications; location (multi-channel offering?); store design, layout, visual merchandising, atmospherics; customer service.


The report should make clear your assessment of how successful each of the retailers have been in their selection of a strategy to follow and in its implementation.