Clarks Competitive Strategy

Topics: Research, Market research, Strategic management Pages: 24 (9525 words) Published: November 27, 2014
Clarks Competitive Strategy | Business Dissertation
This dissertation is about competitive strategy and how the author believes that the organisation ‘Clarks’ have used competitive analysis techniques to address the downfall in their profits, turn around sales and return to profitability.  The dissertation will also look at attitudes towards Clarks during the last 4 or 5 years and whether recent increased marketing activity, during 2004 and 2005, has changed public perception of the brand. 1.1    What is competitive strategy?

“Competitive strategy is the search for a favourable competitiveposition in an industry……to establish a profitable and sustainableposition against the forces that determine industry competition.

Two central questions underlie the choice of competitivestrategy…….attractiveness of industries……and ….the determinants ofrelative competitive position within an industry.” (Porter).

Within this dissertation the author will try to determine thecompetitive strategy used by Clarks and whether it has been asuccess.   1.1.1    Why undertake a competitive analysis
By undertaking a competitive analysis, an organisation can determinewhere it fits within an industry and what the driving forces within theindustry are.  If a competitor analysis is also undertaken, then theorganisation can observe the tactics of the competition and make acounter or first move.  It is not the author’s intention to undertake adetailed analysis of the industry, rather to reflect on such trends andhow the effects thereof have impacted on the case study organisation,Clarks, and forced it to take measures to refocus and improve uponprofitability.  1.1.2    Proposition

A general proposition emerges from these observations to provide focus for this study

>>That there is a link between the undertaking of a competitiveanalysis and the change in the operating profits of Clarks.

This will be explored during the discussion in the literature review and by refining the aims in the following way: 1.1.3    Aims
1. To conduct an analysis of Clarks to determine the approach taken to competitive strategy  2. To determine whether the strategy determined has been a success in the eyes of the public  1.2    The Case Study - Clarks

The above named company was used as the basis for the author’s primaryresearch.  The dissertation will progress to give an overview of thatcompany, showing how it has used competitive strategy to move from aproduct oriented company to one that now appears to be marketing – led.

Clarks was established in 1825 when brothers “Cyrus and James Clark setup a small sheepskin slipper business in…Street, Somerset.” (www.clarkes.com).  A pioneering and innovative family, the followingdecades have seen the invention of the first shoe to follow the shapeof the foot, the Desert Boot, vulcanizing rubber soles, nature formedlasts, polyurethane soles and air comfort footwear. (www.clarkes.com). Expanding it’s product ranges in the 1990’s Clarks was named by theindustry trade publication Footwear News as it’s  “Company of the Year”(www.clarkes.com)   and operating profits have gone from under£1million in 1990 to £77million in 2004 (Appendix 1). 

(this paragraph from customers notes as researcher cannot access Mintelor Hoover reports as they are subscription services, as is themembership organisation Britfoot…. “Clarks is the UK market leader inshoes ahead of Marks and Spencer with both Clarks and Hoover’s BusinessInformation Authority believing Clarks competitive advantage isproducing reliable, fashionable and comfortable shoes.  ElizabethCornell Accessed 16/111/04”

Clarks remains a family run business and operates in many countries ofthe world, although ranges in each are not the same with some areas,like Australia, only selling children’s shoes.  1.3    Approach to the research

The aforementioned aims

1. To conduct an analysis of Clarks to determine the approach taken to competitive strategy  2. To determine...
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