Department stores

Topics: Department store, Marketing, Marketing plan Pages: 7 (2493 words) Published: January 21, 2014


Department stores
Zeïneb CHAOUCH

A department store is a retail establishment preferring wide range of commodities, usually including ready-to-wear apparel, fashion goods, beauty necessities, yard and household goods and further on. Numerous department in which it is divided such as merchandising, advertising, marketing, services, accounting and financial department usually handle it. The first department store in the retailing history was Bennett’s in Derby, it opened in 1734 and it remains in the same building since it’s opening. The origin of department stores is related to the industrial revolution in the 19th century and the growth of a consumer society. A wealthy class was growing, dragging with a constantly changing fashion, which created an enabling environment for the expansion of stores in that area. Today, department stores are mainly part of a retailing chain, usually a main department store is located in strategic area of a big city and the others are all around the city, country or sometimes the world. But we can still find independent retailers.

“ Vision without action is a day dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese proverb. This applies to marketing.

Indeed, establishing a procedure in marketing without planning it in advance will lead to ruin. Before initiation, a plan should be well prepared from it’s begging to its end leaving to chance any step. For a successful marketing plan the contractors have to initially think about the aim. All factors must be taken into consideration before starting the procedure. JC Penney’s case is a relevant example. When the American department store launched its new pricing strategy consisting in the suppression of discounts, heavy promotions, coupons and replacing it by every day low price. The chief executive underestimated the importance granted by costumers to sale and special discounts, which made its plan a big failure. In the fashion industry, when a company needs to launch a new product or line they develop a marketing plan. These plans explain the strategy that will be followed and the details of the procedure in order to legitimize the costs, which will be implied on the company.

We can count the main type of marketing plans: the strategic one, where the decision is up to the senior management and the plan is designed to achieve a long-range goal (at least five years), for example a ¥10 billion investment plan for Japan’s premier department store, Isetan Shinjuku, based in Tokyo. The outlet has been completely redesigned and transformed into a fashion museum presenting a combination of art, music and films while maintaining its primary function as a department store. The second type is the functional planning, which is a short-term plan up and is up to the middle mangers in key business areas but supervised by front line mangers. This is the kind of marketing planning is used during the Christmas period with the window displays in the biggest department stores, such as Galleries Lafayette in Paris or Selfridges in London, they team up with fashion houses and designers for displays with recurring themes including architecture, fairy-tales and scale play. We can also count the operational planning, a short-term action plan developed by supervisors or front-line mangers to accomplish a specific goal, for example: the case Macy’s plan to open on thanksgiving, while all of its competitors are closed on that day. The goal here is to be the only department store open, generate a tremendous profit in one day. Finally, there is the contingency plan, aiming to get a back up plan ready to cope an anticipated situation if it ever occurs.

All of these plans need to be efficiently prepared step by step. According to Phillip Kotler, there are six essential steps for a successful planning. The first one is the situational analysis, where the company...
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