Sara Lee Corporation

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Sara Lee Corporation (Case study)

1. Executive Summary

This case study provides an evaluation of Sara Lee Corporation and particularly its operations of product lines available through the Wal-Mart stores. To begin with, an effective SWOT analysis of the company was conducted where strengths and opportunities are identified while addressing possible threats and improving its weaknesses to avoid giving the competition an aggressive advantage. Marketing requires effective identification of issues as a key factor in devising the best methods of addressing them. Therefore, Kirk Nelson identifies the BasicHipster style to be a major problem in the market because it was not doing well. Effective establishment of the best possible solution is therefore critical to maintain the corporation’s market share for the Wal-Mart Account. This analysis generates key alternatives that Kirk Nelson as the Sara Lee Wal-Mart Girl’s Panty analyst should consider in getting out of the current deadlock. This study recommends that Sara Lee Wal-Mart account should retain the FashionBikini due to its better performance compared to the New FashionBikini and introduce back into circulation, the new BasicHipster.

2. History or introduction

Sara Lee Corporation is a fortune 500 company listed on the NYSE. They mainly mass market their diverse product lines of food and beverages, branded apparel, and household products through large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, but also smaller store as well. Sara Lee, under the Hanes branded apparel operates a product line of underwear called Girls Panty (GP) targeted girls ages 4-12 that include 3 cuts or styles: FashionBrief, FashionBikini and the BasicHipster. The Girl Panty line in Wal-Mart had to meet its sales and supply standards. Sara Lee Corporation maintained high sales due its ability to analyze its products on the basis of the market demand and thereby maintaining the customer’s preference. This case study provides a comprehensive analysis of the corporation’s Girl Panty line in the Wal-Mart account, identifies the strengths and weaknesses, recognizes the marketing problem, generates alternatives, make a recommendation and finally offers an effective implementation strategy.

3. SWOT Analysis


Sara Lee has been identified as having 3 key strengths. First, their ability to employ highly experienced supply chain analysts made it easy for all the members to effectively carry out their roles and cite possible shortcomings on time and come up with workable solutions to address it. Second, Sara Lee’s longtime history has demonstrated that their products built on leadership brands represent high quality, affordable, casual clothing for everyday use, thereby creating brand loyalty and a strong attachment to its products. Finally, relationship building and retention is another key strength for Sara Lee. The trusted partnership between Sara Lee and Wal-Mart was two-fold. Wal-Mart served as a strong distribution channel partner with deep market penetration, while Wal-Mart relied on Sara Lee’s wide portfolio of well-known and established brand names.


According to the case, the corporation suffers some weaknesses. To begin with, the girl panty suppliers are international and therefore subjected to key external forces such as cultural factors, religious considerations, strikes and unrests which made supply uncertain (Case, 427). With some of the supplies coming from external suppliers, the waiting period was very long and therefore unpredictable (Case, 427).

Sara Lee’s market share for the BasicHipster was performing poorly. A New BasicHipster product was in the process of being developed but not yet primed for distribution.


One of the key opportunities that Sara Lee had was its ability to establish the need for new products and make them to replace those whose sales were on the decline in the...
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