Marks & Spencer is a popular retail clothing and accessories brand headquartered in London. The retailer has the presence in a number of categories like formal wear, casual wear, sportswear, party wear, hosiery, eyewear, footwear, accessories and targets men, women and children. The company essentially divides its operations into two UK and international. The company operates 300 full-line stores, 910 stores in the United Kingdom, 220 owned and 310 franchised Simply Food Stores. The retail chain was first established by Michael Marks and Thomas Leeds in 1884. The company registered a revenue of 10.62 billion pounds in the year 2018.
As the company celebrated their 120th anniversary in the year 2004, they had around 3000 plus stores in around 30 countries across the globe and a market capitalization of USD 11.6 billion. Today Marks & Spencer is a force to reckon with in the retail space globally.
Strengths in the SWOT analysis of Marks & Spencer
Strengths are defined as what each business does best in its gamut of operations which can give it an upper hand over its competitors. The following are the strengths of Marks & Spencer :
- Clear Brand Image: Marks & Spencer positions itself as a high-end value product which targets the premium segment. In sync with their brand image the products sold by the retailer especially in clothing line are stylish, modern, and sophisticated. This has resulted in a clear branding and customers are sure of what to expect from a Marks & Spencer store.
- Private labels: In addition to selling premium brands like Louis Vuitton, Vero Moda and Versace, Marks & Spencer also has their own labels in almost all categories. Some of their popular private label brands include Per Una, North Coast, Indigo Collection, Autograph, and Classic Collection. These private labels have been successful in making customers familiar with the name Marks & Spencer and also improved brand recall.
- Innovations: Across the 150 years of operations, Marks & Spencer has been in the race primarily because of their spirit of innovation. Innovation in Marks & Spencer is also synonymous with creativity and communication and people across levels are encouraged to think out of the box and suggest ideas wherever they feel necessary, This free spirit of innovation is the company’s biggest strength.
- Diversity: Marks& Spencer have around80,000 employees who work in their showrooms and offices around the world. The company encourages diversity and thus have people from all ethnicities, religions, and genders. The company is also an equal opportunity employer and ensures that there is no discrimination of any kind at the workplace. All these factors ensure that the employees are culturally sensitive and understand the customer better.
- Multichannel presence:.Marks & Spencer has both brick and mortar and online stores and also offer franchising options. The company operates 300 full-line stores, 910 stores in the United Kingdom, 220 owned and 310 franchised Simply Food Stores. In addition to this, they also have an online store from where customers across the world can shop for Marks & Spencer merchandise.
Weaknesses in the SWOT analysis of Marks & Spencer
Weaknesses are used to refer to areas where the business or the brand needs improvement. Some of the key weaknesses of Marks & Spencer are:
- Inability to penetrate successfully in foreign markets: Marks & Spencer primarily has a presence in Europe, United Kingdom, and the United States. Though they have opened stores in Asia and Middle Eats they have been unsuccessful in winning customers primarily because most of their designs are western and not traditional.
- Customer satisfaction: The customers are Marks & Spencer often exhibit low satisfaction levels and there have been a lot of issues with respect to the returns policy as well as in-store experience. This has resulted in poor brand loyalty and increased brand switching.
- Supply Chain Scalability: One of the biggest weaknesses that Marks &Spencers has is poor scalability of the supply chain. Though the company has been trying to offer global access to their merchandise through their online store they have been unable to scale up their supply chain to deliver to all locations globally. Though they have tried to reach out to Asia because of inventory situations and unsold stock they have to resort to end of season sales to sell off their merchandise.
Opportunities in the SWOT analysis of Marks & Spencer
Opportunities refer to those avenues in the environment that surrounds the business on which it can capitalize to increase its returns. Some of the opportunities include:
- New Segments: Fashion is an evolving business and new segments come up on a regular basis. In Asia, there is a huge demand for ethnic and traditional wear which currently Marks & Spencer has been unable to capitalize on. This is one area which can show a lot of promise to the retailer.
Threats in the SWOT analysis of Marks & Spencer
Threats are those factors in the environment which can be detrimental to the growth of the business. Some of the threats include:
- Competition: The main competitors of Marks & Spencer are Uniqlo, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, and United Colors of Benetton.