British Company Woolworth And Causes Of Its Failure Marketing Essay

The British Company, Woolworths is usually categorized as a assortment shop covering in retailing of a scope of changing merchandises. Historically it was established as a subordinate of an American Company F.W. Woolworth & A ; Co, in 1879 by Frank Winfield Woolworth It was incorporated in England on 23rd July, 1909 as private limited company with initial capital of 50,250 lb sterling. It, first clip floated a new thought of selling all the merchandises at a cost non more than five cents. This thought gained popularity amongst the clients ensuing in fast growing of the subordinate. Its first store at Liverpool attracted about 60,000 people in first two yearss because of attractive one penny, three penny and six penny merchandises put at sale. It continued to open new stores at assorted metropoliss that attracted heavy haste of clients and visitants. It was company ‘s policy to buy the merchandises straight from makers, who besides were really happy due to momentum in their concern every bit good. Some of the makers started making concern entirely with the Woolworths and labeled their merchandises with the company ‘s name. Company ‘s concern grew twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours and it had 31 stores in United Kingdoms by the twelvemonth, 1914. Due to inflationary tendencies after the World War II, the company had to make away with its three pence and six pence monetary value bounds. It introduced self service first clip in its retail side in the twelvemonth 1955. Woolworth opened about 190 self-service shops by the twelvemonth 1970. It created new division in the shops by set uping Woolco departmental shops in the twelvemonth 1966. These shops had full scope of quality merchandises like, apparels, food markets, auto service and eating houses etc. available at low-cost monetary values. ( WGP 2007: Fu 2007 )

The Company continued to boom really fast because of its declared purpose to stay at the client ‘s bosom and best child ‘s retail merchant boulder clay 1966. But thereafter its gross revenues every bit good as net incomes started falling because of its rivals, Marks & A ; Spencer who overtook its gross revenues every bit good as net incomes. The consequences of the company were the worst in the twelvemonth 1969, because it failed to chalk out suited schemes necessary to take on its rivals in the market. Gross saless at Woolworth began to worsen. Consumers were reportedly non satisfied with the quality of client services of the company. Many of the concern sites were non at premier locations. Its new merchandises could non pull the clients because of deficiency of good trained staff and handiness of ‘A category service ‘ . The company tried to better its services in the twelvemonth 1971 by presenting new system of centralised payments besides shuting its 23 unprofitable stores, as an effort to merchandise up. The net incomes of the company increased to some extent as a consequence of these steps but it failed to hike up its net incomes at the coveted degree. ( WGP 2007: Peston 2008 )

The rivals of Woolworth like Wal-Mart, Argos and Next really shortly became more prevalent in the market because of low monetary values, better service and huge scope of their merchandises. The Management of the company finally decided to sellout the Woolco shops in 1977. In the twelvemonth 1981 it sold-out some of its valuable premier located belongingss to cover-up the losingss suffered by the stores situated at these locations. Even so its net incomes went down in the said twelvemonth and the company was forced to cut the dividends first clip since its constitution. In the normal restructuring procedure during the twelvemonth 1985, the company decided to abandon the sale of nutrient and grownup vesture that was lending approximately 30 % of its overall gross revenues. The Management of the company sold out its 200 unprofitable stores out of about 990, during the old ages 1982-1991. During this decennary company made a figure of acquisitions in order to go more diversified in retail concern. It launched Music and Video Club that specialized in Cadmiums, pictures and other amusement merchandises. The company succeeded in hiking its gross revenues and turnover during 1990s and gave impressive consequences despite the fact that some of major ironss like Wilkinson expanded their concern in the Woolworth countries. ( FRANCE 2008 )

Woolworth reviewed its full concern in the twelvemonth 2002. It reconsidered its farther enlargement and realignment and amalgamation of its overall direction construction. It strengthened substructure and planned accurate direction of its stocks so as to keep them at their optimal degrees. It introduced new boulder clay system in order to guarantee its stock keeping capacity besides proviso of improved and efficient services to the clients. The direction decided to cut the figure of providers and heighten the usage of their ain branded merchandises. These betterments contributed a small in the gross revenues every bit good as net incomes. One of chief money spinsters of the company was its music concern that collapsed. The fiscal consequences for the twelvemonth 2004 showed merely 4.5 % addition in the net incomes of the company. It had to vie strongly with Argos in the gross revenues of playthings and gifts. In the twelvemonth 2006, the company introduced an in-store aggregation service for points ordered through web site. Company continued its concern chiefly in amusement and electronics till the twelvemonth 2008. It expanded its ironss and put up out of town shops that were known as ‘Big W ‘ . It announced considerable loss in its half annual statement of personal businesss as on 2nd August, 2008. The direction, hence decide to sellout abut 120 shops, cut occupations and cut down web operations. At this phase reportedly the company rejected an offer to purchase its 815 shops. From September onwards the full World entered into worst of all time economic and fiscal crises that resulted in lessening in handiness of necessary recognition from the Bankss and fiscal establishments besides lessening in consumer disbursement. The lending Bankss of the company non merely refused to give farther credits, they besides demanded refund of their existing loans towards the company. As a consequence of this crisis the retail concern severely suffered. Media besides reported possible monetary value clangs, increased personal debts, unemployment, pension deficits, stock market clangs and lessening in handiness of disposable income. ( Straight Times 2009: James 2008 )

In the above paragraph I have tried to give possible brief overview of the Woolworth ‘s ups and downs since its origin in United Kingdoms, in the twelvemonth 1909. It was really much necessary to hold the overview and brief history of the company before strategically analysing the causes of its failure. One thing became quit evident that Woolworth faced sever fiscal every bit good as tough competitory challenges from new entrants in the field of retail concern, more specifically in the last five old ages of its concern. Its portion monetary value dropped drastically during the old ages 2006-2008. ( HC 2008 )

The strategic analysis of any company, house or a concern entity needs dependable and valid information, rating of its periodical and one-year studies, company ‘s histories and comparative public presentation of its rivals making concern in the same part or state. Obviously roll uping necessary information from the records of the company concerned is non possible because of obvious grounds. Outside analysers have to trust upon the information gathered through outside resources such as concern trade diaries, stakeholders ‘ interviews and trading consequences reported at assorted sites. By maintaining in position the available information, I would seek to analyse through different analysing theoretical accounts, the causes of failure of M/s Woolworth after making concern for about a century. I would wish to analyse the macro-environmental factors, like political, economic, societal and technological that had been impacting the company ‘s possible and way of operations, its concern place and overall market tendencies.

The company had no immediate political menaces in the state as there was no political determination that might hold impacted the public presentation of the company during last five old ages. General elections in the United Kingdoms are due. The Labor party that had been governing for approximately ten old ages had its ain economic policies. The studies conducted at assorted degrees are calculating a alteration in the following elections. The Labor party has its ain political and economic docket that may or may non accommodate the concern and industry in the state. They are of the position that the economic system can convey out of crises merely by staying with in the budgetary bounds without disbursement to boot, whereas Labor thinks that the economic system can pitch up with more and more disbursement. General populace is confused over the economic hereafter of the state. They are hence loath to pass and are seeking to hold maximal nest eggs to contend the current every bit good as foreseen economic tendencies. These public tendencies have negative impacts over the concern of already fighting companies like Woolworth. There are no uncertainty certain anti-globalization motions around the World demanding limitations to farther enlargement of transnational companies. ( McMillan 2008: King 2008 )

Current economic state of affairs in the United Kingdoms can be seen as extremely negative factor for Woolworth. Low involvement rates have dissuaded the people who were doing their lifes through an income generated from their investings. Retired people have besides well lost their pensionery benefits because of autumn of stock markets. The lodging market has fallen to its lowest degrees despite heavy falls in the monetary values of houses. It hence impacted negatively over the retail market of the state. Oil monetary values that rose to about $ 145 a barrel in the early months of the twelvemonth 2008 fell every bit low as to $ 35 a barrel due to falling demand by major developing economic systems of the World like China. These falling monetary values of oil indicated the autumn in growing of World major economic systems. In the fortunes net incomes of the companies covering in retail gross revenues well decreased.

The consumer attitude has by and big changed with the transition of clip. They are avoiding purchases from big ace shops and preferring local stores because of suitableness of location. Woolworth failed to vie with other retail merchants in this country every bit good because of best concern locations of its new rivals. Consumer purchasing mechanism has besides changed well. Use of nomadic phones and personal computing machines has made it easy for the consumers to do shopping through cyberspace after doing comparing of cost and quality of merchandises. They are doing purchases while sitting at place through the companies that are offering competitory rates of their merchandises besides fast services. A figure of companies have entered in the field of selling goods through the cyberspaces merely. That has given them dual advantage. First they are in apposition to sell their goods at relatively lower rates because they do n’t necessitate any premises or any staff and they are incurring relatively less overhead disbursals. Second they are pulling busy and aged people who are unable to see the ironss due to age factors. I may add that the aged people make a major portion of the society in the United Kingdoms. This technological promotion has affected the concern of Woolworth. ( ColClough 2008 )

All sections of the retail industry are confronting tough competition in the United Kingdoms every bit good as the World over. Some of the companies like Tescos, Sainsbury and Asda are seeking new sectors or seeking for higher market incursion in order to hike up gross revenues of their existing merchandises. These companies are seeking to sellout their branded merchandises at significantly lower monetary values whereas some new entrants like Aldi, Netto and Lidl are selling unbranded merchandises at relatively lower monetary values ensuing in increased gross revenues and net incomes. In these fortunes Woolworth is dragging behind and fring its clasp over the retail market. Woolworth was confronting biggest menaces from the shops like WalMart and Morrisons because of their merchandise variegation such as Lloyd ‘s pharmaceuticss. As against Woolworth, these companies were in vigorous battle to accomplish a bridgehead in new geographical sites as good. Woolworth ‘s high street shops had to trust upon commissariats for childs ‘ jubilations, the country where it had remained a cardinal supplier, that excessively under tough competition with other ace markets. The rivals like George, Asda and Tescos were offering options with strong manner by using interior decorators of the celebrity. For illustration Tescos offered Levis denims at a monetary value lower than even its maker. These schemes had helped these shops in increasing their market portion.

No uncertainty, there was an built-in hazard of profitableness, for all the shops making the retail concern. It was chiefly because of tough and ferocious competition. To stay in the market they were to stay competitory both cost and quality wise. Some of the retail merchants moved their fabrication concern to other states in order to bring forth cheaper merchandises. Use of inexpensive stuff in fabricating the merchandises was although non a good option for the retail merchants because of feared inquiries over the nutritionary value of these inexpensive merchandises yet some of companies took the hazards and earned net incomes. Woolworth could non prove any of these options. ( Richard 2009 )

In order to find the competitory strength and attraction of Woolworth we will hold to seek for the forces that were near to it and affected its ability to fulfill the clients and increase its gross revenues and profitableness. We will hold to do a qualitative rating of the company ‘s strategic place by utilizing porter ‘s five forces model. For this intent we will analyse the menace of new entrants to Woolworth. Although high Numberss of retail merchants were making concern in general ware during the twelvemonth 2008, Argos and Next were two chief companies that were successfully viing the other companies like Woolworth. Both of them offered full scope of merchandises like playthings and gifts, electrical goods and house wares etc. They had advantage over Woolworth because of their minimum stock retentions. It made more selling infinite available to them. Another group of foreign companies like Ikea, Pound stretcher, Gap and H & A ; M etc, achieved good organic growing by taking start from zero, chiefly because of new concern schemes and thoughts. Their concern straight and indirectly had negative impacts over the companies like Woolworth. ( Heather, Zoe 2008 )

Another factor behind the reduced net incomes of retail companies was that of their diminishing bargaining power because of development of information engineering that has helped the purchasers to hold direct entree to possible providers. On the other side the providers dickering powers had increased due to increased demand of their peculiar merchandises. For illustration when they knew that a peculiar theoretical account of nomadic phone or computing machine game is at high demand they gave penchant to clients other than the bing retail merchants. Companies like Woolworth that were missing sufficient financess to stock the extremely demanded trade goods before manus were left behind. Companies like Marks and Spencer marketed superior replacements of certain nutrient merchandises in order to work and pull the clients who could afford to buy these high quality merchandises at relatively higher costs. Not to the full, but to some extent their scheme attracted the consumers. Some of the super markets and shops, non Woolworth, besides marketed the low priced substituted merchandises under their ain labels and they attracted the clients who had religion and trueness with these shops.

Most of the clients avoid doing shopping as per modus operandi ; instead they wait for seasonal gross revenues so that they could buy their needed trade goods at decreased monetary values. They expected to acquire “ three for two offers ” throughout the twelvemonth. This attack had put the retail merchants like Woolworth at back pes because they were forced to follow competitory pricing and offer limited scope of trade goods, alternatively of aiming market publicities.

The competitory competition has ever been really high in the assortment shops sector because this concern had already been saturated in the United Kingdoms and even than it was spread outing twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours. Companies were seeking for different channels and presenting new scope of merchandises in order to bring higher net incomes. The companies that were trusting on their existing scope of merchandises suffered either from losingss or gained minimum net incomes, non sufficient even to pay off their debts.

While we have talked a batch about assorted forces impacting straight or indirectly, the public presentation of Woolworth, we may hold a brief position about its strengths that had kept the company ‘s concern intact for about a century. The company being one of the oldest in the United Kingdoms had its specific acknowledgments in assorted concern schemes. It had good repute and a recognized name throughout. Its internal competency and expertness enabled it to cut down the cost of salable merchandises and present them under its ain label that provided extra turnover to the company. Company minimized the hazards by come ining into understandings with other rivals. For a long period, the company dominated the providers of playthings, house wares and makers of other merchandises due to its strong presence. The locations every bit good as figure of the Woolworth shops were another point of its strength. As a tool of marketing run the company was foremost to follow advertisement icons. The direction of the company, to some extent, succeeded in pull offing the stocks expeditiously. They continuously reviewed their operational efficiency in order to last in the competition. The company developed a high degree of understanding the clients due to its long experience in retail concern. For a long period the direction of the company was in a place to foretell the alterations in the consumer behaviour on the footing of their experience. They tried to use different schemes at different times in order to take on competition. ( Rupert, Manfreda 2008 )

There were certain failings in the operational schemes of Woolworth that dominated its strength. Its pattern of discounting and offering trades made the clients accustomed therefore the company was forced to go on such patterns despite assorted fiscal restraints. This policy no uncertainty had well contributed towards betterments in the gross revenues but besides had negatively impacted its profitableness. The company failed to follow new engineerings like RFID that reduced the company ‘s capableness to vie in value concatenation decreases. The direction of the company made certain hapless trading determinations at the occasions of Christmas that non merely resulted in reduced gross revenues as besides dropped the assurance of clients and other stakeholders. The direction of the company could hold good taken the advantage of its high street retail mercantile establishments as the consumers did non prefer out of town shops but it failed. By doing usage of latest engineering, the company could hold come in such a place that it could besides avail the cardinal chances in the future retail concern. By following these steps the company would hold been in a place to avoid hazards and compete with the retail sector every bit good as other sectors like discount houses and class slayers etc. Another job faced by the company was the refinance understanding it entered into for availing a 385 million lbs loan against its assets. It added to its load in form of about 30 million lbs involvement per twelvemonth. ( APM 2008: Thompson 2008 )

Under these fortunes every bit good as in aftermath of market impregnations, coupled with economic downswing, it was extremely hard for the Woolworth to keep competitory pricing. Woolworth ‘s fiscal consequences for the first half of the twelvemonth 2008 showed 99.7 million lbs pre revenue enhancement loss. Decreased recognition handiness, decreased public disbursement and force per unit area of creditors to pay off debts of about 385 million lbs, forced the company to sellout its 120 stores that were traveling in loss besides cut downing the web operations, cutting the merchandises and axing the employees. These steps could non assist the company to last and finally it suspended trading of its portions on the 26th 0f November, 2009 and at last decided to shut down its all 819 shops and axe its 27000 extremely dedicated employees. The parent company of Woolworth besides announced its purpose to travel into disposal on the 19th of January, 2009


In the visible radiation of above treatments and analysis we would non be incorrect to state that Woolworth failed to vie with the other retail merchants as it could n’t vie with discount houses, class slayers and specializers because it lacked necessary capablenesss and apprehension of markets. It failed to react the menaces posed by the new entrants because it took lightly the alterations in the purchasing form of the clients. It is 20 first century and non twentieth, hence every concern had to maintain its eyes and ears unfastened. Initial marks of any menace might be obscure but it could make brewing problem. Those companies that adapted the new engineerings grew fast while others dragged behind and finally failed. Stately in the last twosome of old ages the Woolworth clients had to purchase its low quality merchandises at relatively higher monetary values. Resultantly more and more clients moved off from Woolworth. Woolworth continued to look at its public presentation from the interior out, alternatively of looking outside in. he company was non prepared for the worst, therefore it could non last in the current extremely competitory society.