Working with customer focused approach and adherence to brand values like quality, value, service, innovation and trust, the company has been able to create a niche for itself in the highly competitive retail sector.
A Well Planned Strategy: The Company has been focusing on providing quality products to its customers with matching service standards and shopping environment. M&S has marked for itself five key growth areas2, namely;
v. Integrating the environment care plan, known as Plan A or 'eco plan' into every aspect of their business, so that the company can continue to grow in a sustainable manner. Interestingly, M&S calls it Plan A, because it believes there's no Plan B, if we don't act responsibly now.
The Glorious past: It is said that journey of 100 miles begins with one single step. That was exactly the case with M&S, when a stall was founded in 1884 in an open market in Leeds, UK with the name Marks' Penny Bazaar. The company has not looked back since then. Despite a number of ups and downs, the group operates 665 stores in UK with over 291 franchisees in over 40 countries.
Satisfied Customer: Today we are in an era when marketing communication techniques have seemingly overshadowed all other forms of approaching the customer. But it is worth noting that grabbing customer attention is not a big deal, retaining customer loyalty requires sound strategies at the top. A satisfied customer often takes pride in becoming a goodwill ambassador for the company. The emphasis of M&S on quality and customer satisfaction has helped in retaining the customer base of the company.
Committed workforce: Organisations are not passive components. They are live, full of activity and environment-responsive like living beings. With time organisations acquire a character and develop a typical personality and we tend to make an image of the employee depending on the organisation he/ she works for. This very personality of M&S seems to have considerably influenced the functions of the company as it is known as an employee friendly company thus earning the loyalty of the workforce.
Basis of Competitive Advantage
The retail sector is highly competitive with likes of ASDA Group, Debenhams, Sainsbury, Matalan, NEXT, Tesco, Gap, Wal-Mart etc. giving intense competition to M&S. But the fact that the company was able to showcase revenues worth 9,022 million (approximately $18,113 million) during the financial year (FY) ending March 2008, with an increase of 5.1% over 2007 goes on to prove that M&S has been able to create a formidable space for itself in the market. Some of the strong points of M&S, which give it a competitive edge are;
i. Strong market position: