The business strategy of marks and spencer

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the leading merchants in britain (UK). The high quality services are being provided to the clients in the regions of clothing, food and home products. Based on reliable statistical data, the number of customers going to M&S stores weekly approaching the body of 21 million. From all over the world, 2, 000 suppliers take the duty of excellent quality products to fulfill the customers. The key factors behind the business enterprise such as service, quality, value, trust and invention are similarly important because the starting of M&S 125 years back till night out [8].

Business is growing in 41 different countries apart from UK by following the well-defined rules and regulations regarding customer care, product quality, advancement and trust. More than 76, 000 people work in UK and overseas for M&S. To become the world's most sustainable major merchant is the ultimate goal of M&S. For the achievement of this goal, Plan A premiered in January 2007 consisting of 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years, but Plan A has extended to 180 commitments to reach by 2015 [9].

The Plan A consists of five pillars to help the M&S customers to lead better lifestyles. To fight climate change, reduce throw away, use sustainable natural materials and trade ethically are the four pillars after which Plan A stands. All the 180 commitments are under the five pillars of Plan A. M&S is trying best to sort out Plan A by including customers and suppliers to achieve the desired results [8].

The first section presents the evaluation of exterior environment of organization. Internal environment and recognition is the primary concentration in second section and third section deals with the impact of external environment on the strategic direction of the organization. Identification of the major issues and issues facing M&S is key talk in previous section, and there is finish after that to summarize all the portions.

Political, economic, social and complex (PEST) will be the four most important factors to analyze the exterior environment of M&S. The constraints or limits applied by the federal government in virtually any country are covered under political aspects (transfer/export obligations). But monetary aspects show the durability and development of organization based on stock market talk about value. Social aspects reflect the common people fascination with the population and complex issues point to the engagement and utilization of modern emerging technology to advertise and enhance the organization's business. This exterior environment with four major factors performs a substantial role in identifying the organization's business technique to achieve the optimal results.

Q. 1: Evaluation of the organization's exterior environment.

Strategic Research of Business Environment

External and inside environment effect the organizational functions, therefore strategic course of business depends on both environments. Tactical analysis helps identifying environmentally friendly factors that can significantly affect the business. On the other hand, environmental analysis shows the actions both inside and outside the organization. For appropriate business technique to indicate the organizational environment, environmental examination must be studied into account. The following discussion considers exterior and inner organizational environment in detail [6].

1. 1 Exterior Environment

External environment consists of conditions and makes such as (politics, economical, social and scientific) that are beyond the control and have an impact on the organization's tactical options. Exterior environment defines the competitive situation of corporation and probably have both positive and negative impact on business. The classical PEST analysis recognizes four major categories of external factors that significantly have an impact on organization's capacity to survive and develop. Based on functioning region, external environment is divided into three interactive segments having remote, industrial and operating environments. However, changes in the exterior environment also create new opportunities [1].

Different external factors have different affects which have to be discussed independently for clear understanding. Some influences inter-linked with each other create a little of complexity. For instance, information technology completely changed the type of work, customer tendencies and life-style as well. External environmental study helps to decide the business strategy accordingly to get the competitive benefits. Based on Infestation evaluation, four major external factors will discuss at length [2].

Remote Environment

Operating Environment

Industrial Environment

1. 2 Political Environment

Business expansion and buyers interest both are purely relevant to the political balance in a country. The federal government trade insurance plan is another important factor that impacts organization's business. Business operates in an administrative and legal construction provided by the political authorities. The restrictive environment affects all aspects of organization. The legal and administrative construction cover whole lot of factors including costs regulation, duty rates and bonuses, mandatory staff benefits, wage legislation, trade restrictions and tariffs, commercial safety regulations and product labeling requirements. Permissive administrative/legal context favors organization's business, employees and consumers. The development speed of organization depends on specific laws and regulations to work with. Political activities also have an effect on suppliers, customers and rivals [2].

1. 3 Economic Environment

To discuss the effect of market on organization's business, there's a definite need to consider the key macro-economic tendencies. In this respect, the factors that effect business are taxation, interest rates, inflation, disposable income, unemployment, GNP developments, general demand, authorities spending, money supply, business cycle stage (e. g. success, recession and recovery), economic expansion rate and inclination to spend at national and international levels [1].

1. 4 Friendly Environment

In public environment changes in ideals, attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, different life styles and other movements are taken into account. Successful business strategy must have the ability to target different demographics, school structure in the world, various ethnicities and ethnic conditions of individuals. Because of changing marketplace principles, customers are compromising the product quality over price. Elegant clothing demand has risen to great extent. The price sensitivity of most customers kept M&S at less competitive position [1].






1. 5 Technological Environment

Rapid change in technology greatly influences the market conditions and existing tendencies as well. Electronic media is playing very important role in presenting new fashions in the world. Therefore, organization needs to consider all such factors relevant to modern technology. Usage of modern technology establish the new specifications regarding services and product quality. Inside the technological environment business is affected in terms of investment and consistent request of technology to remain competitive in the market [2].

Q. 2: Analysis's of the organization's interior environment and identification.

Analysis of Internal Environment and Identification

SWOT analysis enable you to measure the degree of fit between strategies and environment. Predicated on this analysis, strengths and opportunities are used for the revenue of business and protect firm against weaknesses and threats. There is absolutely no lot of thought in the use of SWOT analysis scheduled to simple dynamics so the results are not very reliable. This examination has no potential to cope perfectly with some of the complicated aspects of modern proper theory. In the current situation simple research of inside environment of M&S can be involved, that's why affordable results may be achieved predicated on SWOT research [5].

2. 1 Strengths

All internal and external aspects that give strength to the business are included in the strong things. The strength signifies the existing market position of business in conditions of customers, competition and inside resources. Durability is a "source advantage relative to rivals and the needs of the marketplaces a firm serves or desires to serve". The particular benefits that helps the organization to achieve the comparative advantage in the market. The foundation of durability is the resources and competencies available in the business [5].

Excellent and quality products supply the durability to M&S in terms of customers and rivals. Based on better treatment and good salary, the employees are in excellent romance with M&S. Large numbers of M&S stores in the UK and overseas signify the strong infrastructure. The financial strength is obvious due to the large market talk about. M&S is one of the major vendors in the united kingdom, profitable and older as well [4].

2. 2 Weaknesses

In spite of good strength in industry, there are fragile areas as well that want a noticable difference. M&S products are more expansive than other opponents on the traditional but justifiable based on excellent quality. The main target is on the customers in between 35-44 yrs. old, neglecting the younger and children. Because of enlargement program to European countries, USA and other countries, M&S lost give attention to local market. There is absolutely no business technique to capture the potential available in younger generation market. A lot of the times no special offers can be found to the clients in the form of sales. Internally, customer services need to be improved including updating the utilization of technology to manage the merchandise in the store [4].

2. 3 Opportunities

The the very first thing in the business growth is to avail the new opportunities in the market. To grasp the potential available in the market, there's a definite need to arrange the versatile business strategy which may change based on the developments. Introduce the wider selection of color clothes, variety and various types of collections to target the majority of customers. By utilising suitable effective strategy such as youthful more modern-day models to entice the younger generation. Superior resources and capacities based on modern technology is a key factor to achieve the competitor's advantage level. There is a need to enhance the food stores for successful M&S food business [4].

2. 4 Threats

In the occurrence of extreme competition between different organizations in the industry, threat is ever present force. To avoid the threat of threat the business always will try to improve the performance in conditions of customer services, quality product and less expensive. Business expansion to abroad has proven less successful for M&S; there's a need to focus on the neighborhood market. Strong competitors are focusing on the young ones market; therefore there is a risk that M&S could lose the forex market [5].

Organization's Internal Factors





External Factors

Q. 3: Recognition of the major issues and troubles facing the grades & Spencer.

Challenges and Issues Facing Grades & Spencer

M&S is one of the biggest retailers in the united kingdom providing diverse aspect services to the clients including clothes, food and home products. They always try their finest to emphasize Quality at affordable prices, but this isn't always the case. They are shedding the trend to capture younger market and other retailers are taking the benefit of this weak spot. To grasp the of this area is the best task M&S facing. The goods prices 're going up and provide the cheaper product, they need to import the products which decreased the image of M&S as "British Goods" vendor [8].

The customer's developments were changing towards natural and green products so, M&S launched plan A consisting of 180 commitments to triumph over the troubles. Many problems are related to changing climate conditions. To beat the environment change is the major obstacle that M&S facing. Reduce the waste going into landfill is also the top concern for M&S to deal with. The program A is launched by since great challenges can be found and management must package with customers and suppliers to attain the targets. To attain the carbon natural level can be an important dedication that is trying to be performed by efficient usage of fuel. For instance, huge vehicles are being used for transport. Energy saving is also the key part of plan A [8].

There are a sigificant number of clothes going to landfill by means of waste. Instead of squandering, these cloths may be provided to the non-profit organizations who will work for the needy people of society. The reduction of waste is significant factor in plan A. M&S is trying their best to increase the lives of folks in the supply chain. To greatly help the customers and employees live the better life-style through plan A [9].

Q. 4: External environment and the effect on the strategic way of the organization.

Impact of External Environment on Strategic Direction

The strategic path identifies the action plan that brings about the achievement of ultimate goals of organization's strategy. The proper path of M&S is dependant on the idea to be the world's most ecological retailer by 2015. In spite of the fact that there is no set in place bench mark leave to compare the world's most lasting retailer, this course of action is admirable to provide a great deal services and made up of large number of commitments. To do this target, the business enterprise development office launched plan A based on five pillars. The business is not limited to the physical boundaries of organization. What happens outside does influence the strategic route and the organization has to take action or react accordingly to handle the problem [2].

The external makes such as political, economical, social and scientific that have an effect on the strategic path of organization's business is beyond the control. Therefore, sometimes business is bound to change the tactical path of business to cope with the situation and also to achieve the best goal [1].

The politics environment contains administrative and legal factors which have an effect on the strategic way due to some administrative and legal constraints. The smooth conditions support the business to reach the ultimate vacation spot (desired level). But hard conditions bound the organization to alter the business technique to achieve the required result. The business must work within the framework provided by the political authorities in a country. The change in politics setup could also influence the tactical direction because business needs to follow new legal and administrative instructions by the new government [2].

In the communal environment public developments play a very important role in the proper direction of group. Change in values, beliefs, attitudes, opinions and lifestyles effect the organization to improve the business technique to fulfill the demands of customers in a changing atmosphere. The cultural, demographic and religious tendencies create new opportunities in the market for business development [3].

The major change in technology placed the new standard to contend on the market and this situation totally change the tactical direction of Company to stay in the market and to achieve the business objectives. Talents may be changed by weaknesses and competencies can become rigidities. Technological change opens new opportunities to grow the business by exploiting new market potential and unmet needs. The cost, rate of change and development will be the factors related to materials and machines used for processing goods and services [6].

The living of strong competition is an ever present danger to the business, change in the proper direction and business plan may influence the organization to reconsider the business technique to save the customers and business. Sometimes organization's has to bring in the new better business plan to capture the actual in the market. For example, M&S provided second version of plan A by adding new commitments to attain the level of world's most ecological shop by 2015 [8].

The change in proper direction of an organization is not an easy process as so many associated factors need to change. For instance, reconfiguration of existing resources and functions take place by changing the strategy. This action is taken only once no other option is available.

Q. 5: What if the organization do to attain or maintain competitive advantage in its industries?

. Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage identifies the condition of organization when income level exceeds the average of its industry. To attain the status of competitive advantage is the ultimate goal of business strategy. Cost gain and differentiation benefit are the two basic varieties of competitive advantage. These two conditions are necessary for the presence of competitive edge. One of these is to deliver the same benefits as opponents but at minimal cost (cost edge) and the other the first is to provide the competing product with more benefits (differentiation cost). The position of business in industry as a head is identified predicated on cost or differentiation [7].

5. 1 Competitive Advantages Model

The block diagram represents the resource-based idea of competitive gain by incorporating the resources and functions to supply the superior value creation [6].


Distinctive Competencies

Cost Advantage


Differentiation Advantage

Value Creation


5. 2 Resources and Capabilities

Superior resources and features are crucial factors to build up the competitive advantages. In the absence of these factors rivals expose better product with less price and advantages disappears immediately.

Basically, resources reveal the organization-specific investments that are used to develop cost or differentiation advantage. The examples of such resources include installed customer platform, reputation of company, brand equity, proprietary know-how, patents and trademarks. How proficiently the organization utilizes its resources to achieve the competitive gain is measured in terms of capabilities. For example, bringing the merchandise in to the market quicker than competition represents functions. The combination of resources and functions result in distinctive competencies which activate efficiency, quality, advancement and customer consciousness. Such attributes act as a catalyst to attain the position of cost or differentiation benefits [7].

5. 3 Achievements of Competitive Advantages Level

Learn Customer Requirements To attain or keep up with the competitive benefit in its industry, the organization should follow some necessary details as a regular matter and only customers and the business plan as well.

Analysis of Competition

Product Differentiation with

Target Market Analysis

Modern Techniques

Economic Moat Creation

Business Information Resources

5. 3. 1 Learn Customer Demands

Customers are the most crucial entity available circle. To understand the requirements of customers is an important factor towards competitor's advantage. Group must offer good quality product at minimum amount price to catch the attention of the clients and capture the market [6].

5. 3. 2 Analysis of Competition

Another important step to attain the competitor's advantage level is good evaluation of competition. For example, who will be the major competitors in the industry and what type of different products are they offering. The product quality and price of similar goods have to be considered in the examination. The effectiveness of major competitors on the market is taken into account [6].

5. 3. 3 Product Differentiation with Modern Techniques

Provide good quality products with low cost through the use of modern fabrication techniques play very important role to keep competitors gain level. Modern tools, superior resources and features with better management will be the key factors to support the positioning of competitor's benefit [7].

5. 3. 4 Target Market Analysis

The term marketplace identifies the group of customers and areas at which the organization aims its products. Distinction between goal markets predicated on communal, demographic and common characteristics make the best aim for for the business to focus [6].

5. 3. 5 Economic Moat Creation

On the foundation of edge regarding barriers to enter the market, discourage the opponents from challenging your market share. In a few situations the capability of more developed company to control barriers to enter and compete on the market acts as a highly effective method against new competition. To protect the profit probable and make the business enterprise secure for forthcoming future is also included in the process to make monetary moat.

5. 3. 6 Business information resources

Information technology is participating in a significant role in every field, supplying a lot of relevant information available to business resources. The business information resources may be used to set the suitable business strategy that is superior as compared to the opponents. Business information companies provide such services to be advantage rivals [7].


M&S is one of the biggest retailers in the UK who gets the try to achieve the positioning of world's most sustainable merchant by 2015 based on the conclusion of 180 commitments. All commitments revolve around five pillars of plan A. Weather change, waste materials, natural resources, good partnership and health and wellness will be the five pillars on which the plan A stands. The organization's business is affected by inside and external factors. Talents and weaknesses are the key inside factors that are under the control of management. But exterior factors such as political, economical, sociable and technical are beyond the control of the organization. The external factors put on the different restrictions and strategic route of business will depend on such forces. Threats and opportunities are the other two factors which might determine the business strategy. Superior resources and capacities are utilized to achieve the level of rival benefit. Some necessary activities to maintain the positioning of competitor advantages such as learn the client demands, competition research, modern technology usage and product differentiation are brands of a few. To meet 180 commitments by the end of 2015 is the biggest problem. Other major challenges are the productive usage of resources to focus on plan A for the success of main targets relevant to the five pillars.


M&S launched Plan "A" in 2007 because they were facing hard competition from other rivals. M&S was lacking behind in many industries of the retail market, so they needed a thorough plan to become the world's most lasting retailer.

In order to accomplish all this, M&S called this Plan, "Plan A" because they consider it's now the only path to do the business and there is no "Plan B".

By adopting the program "A" M&S has fought back really well and their sales are on the rise which led to increased market shares and they are efficiently becoming one of the world's most ecological major vendors.

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