Merchandising: Zara & Hmv

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Merchandising Report
Merchandising centres on the buying and selling of goods within a market place and a good merchandising system is essential to the success of any retail business. I intend to focus this merchandising report on Zara, a ladies fashion retailer and HMV, an entertainment megastore. These two companies have specific buying and merchandising strategies, which are tailored to the needs of their products. This report will explore the similarities and differences within each company's strategies, and identify factors that determine them. Range Selection and Planning

When selecting merchandise it needs to be suited to the needs of the customer. This relates to a number of criteria consisting of price, quality and individual tastes. The buyers will need to select goods that have the most potential for resale and generate a high level of profit. Therefore, the purchases need to be planned carefully. The planning process centres on "determining the appropriate time for the merchandise to be available to customers, what will be bought, quantities and selecting resources".

HMV divides up their core stock under an assortment of headings: music albums, music singles, classical, video, DVD, games and books. It is important for the buyers at HMV to obtain a wide variety of the latest products to cater for different tastes. HMV will under take extensive negotiations in the buying process once they have sourced the appropriate products. In addition to their core stock, HMV will offer impulse goods, for example, blank videos, to add to promotional techniques. In the music industries early days, retailers mostly purchased products directly from the few record manufacturers. As retail volume grew in the 1940's, manufacturers began to serve retailers through regional distributors. The distributors will need to tailor their distribution strategies to reach the appropriate type of retail distribution outlet. HMV is a mass merchant. This means HMV stocks a very wide variety of products throughout a number of ranges. Distributors establish a priority of releases and develop a marketing strategy campaign that ties in with the nature of the product. HMV's centralised buying shift began in 1996, when the chain altered its buying strategy, whereby store managers ordered for their individual store. The change was to allow HMV to take advantage of label discounts and national advertising buys. In 2002, HMV took away much of the buying flexibility enjoyed by its store managers by moving further towards centralised buying and advertising strategies. The HMV regional distributors plan in advance when the products are to reach the stores and the quantity allocation depending on the size of the outlet.

Zara's core stock, on the other hand, consists of clothing, shoes and fashion accessories, for example bags and jewellery. Zara produces around eleven thousand styles each year, which is about fives times as many as a comparable retailer would typically produce. Zara's designers work in large open spaces to the headquarters, with one design centre for each range of clothes. Many of the clothes are catwalk inspired. Zara buys in the raw materials but they design all the clothes themselves. Distribution of both outsourced and in-house manufactured garments are centralised at Zara's own distribution centres. Similarities and differences

Both Zara and HMV need to ensure they stock the most up-to-date products to meet their customer's expectations. They have very different product ranges, but they both operate through centralised distributors when dividing up the goods for the individual stores. Strict planning and quick responses to customers needs is due to the products characteristics and the market demands.

Zara and HMV's products do not tend to have the same characteristics. HMV's customers are more likely to know what they want to purchase before they enter the store, so HMV need to encourage the customers to...
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