In this assignment we have been set the task of carrying out a retail evaluation project of Next plc.
This has to be done from the point of view from a consultant or analyst.
The assignment has been split up into two tasks, firstly to analyse and evaluate Next plc, then secondly suggest any ways in which their marketing performance can be improved for future success.
My first step is to get an overview of Next plc as a company, how it started, the market sector it operates in and its past and present performance.
2.History of Next
To analyse Next we need to get a clear view of the business and start from the very beginning. So back in 1864 was the very beginning for the company we now know as Next. J. Hepworth and Son Tailors established a business in Leeds, then called Gentleman¡¦s Tailors.
J. Hepworth shed its old identity therefore it no longer exists in the former guise. Since then it has grown immensely to the large company we know today.
1948 Chain stores were established and then 33 years later in 1981 J. Hepworth bought Kendall stores and established women¡¦s clothing stores. It was needed that he diversifies into women¡¦s wear. When this took place it was a large change, Next converted 70 stores in 6 weeks.
1982 George Davis joined the company in order to sell designer style clothing at High street prices. This is when the Next Womenswear chain was launched. Two years later in 1984 the men¡¦s range was launched, followed by the range of household furnishing in 1985.
It wasn¡¦t until 1987 when the Childrenswear was formed; another product range in the growing company of Next and this was followed by Next Directory in 1988. The Directory allowed them to target many customers and sell products without paying high street rents. Currently they are ranked number one among High Street names which are offering mail ordering clothing.
The company was well established and began to go global offering franchise opportunities around the world.
To date Next have over 400 stores in the UK and 100 franchise stores overseas. According to Data Monitor Next is the third largest clothing retailer in the UK.
Next operates in the sector of selling clothes, shoes, accessories and home furnishings. It worked out well as the actual name ¡§Next¡¨ is a flexible name. It can be adapted to many different sectors, allowing them, as they already have, to diversify.
The business operates in five different segments, Next Retail, Next Directory, Next Franchise, Ventura (a financial service) and finally Next Asia. This stresses how large the company is on a global scale, a lot larger and more established than I had initially thought.
Next was a name that was chosen by John Stephenson. In those days most people named a shop after the name of the owner, but Next was named after an idea, meaning that ¡§things happening not just today, but tomorrow¡¨.
3.Past and Present Performance
3.1 The market
According to current statistics the UK clothing market is a declining market. Most companies in this clothing sector make only moderate profits, because of such fierce competition.
To expand the market share in this sector is not easy. It needs a lot of planning, knowledge and money.
In the clothing sector there are two main types, those who sell their own brands, such as Marks and Spencer and Next, then those who are larger department stores who sell other retailers brands, such as Debenhams. The clothing market is very diverse, it ranges from low cost to highly expensive designer wear, but it is in the middle level where the major brands are and money can be earned. Therefore I believe this is where Next is situated.
3.2 Past Performance
The past performance of Next can be seen as successful, it has grown from strength to strength. We can see from the following table it shows a snapshot of the situation of the company and that Next has nearly...