Which Is the Most Successful Fashion Company in the Department

“WHICH IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FASHION COMPANY IN THE DEPARTMENT AND GENERAL STORE SECTOR OF THE UK FASHION INDUSTRY FOR MEN AGED 25-34” CONTENTS 0. DEFINING SUCCESS pg 3 1. 1 Market Research Pg 3 2. 0 Secondary Research Findings Pg 5 2. 1 Horizontal Analysis Pg 5 2. 1. 1 Turnover Pg 5 2. 1. 2 Gross Profit  Pg 7 2. 1. 3 Operating Profit Pg 9 2. Vertical Analysis Pg 10 2. 2. 1 House of Fraser Pg 10 2. 2. 2 M&S and Debenhams Pg 11 3. 0 Primary Research Data. Pg 12 3. 1 Aim Pg 12 3. 2 Objectives Pg 12 3. 3 Methodology Pg 12 3. 4 Method Pg 15 3. 5 Results Pg 16 3. 6 Ethical Considerations

Pg 16 3. 7 Potential Limitations Pg 17 Bibliography Appendix “WHICH IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FASHION COMPANY IN THE DEPARTMENT AND GENERAL STORE SECTOR OF THE UK FASHION INDUSTRY FOR MEN AGED 25-34” 1. 1 Defining Success Success can be measures in many different ways, through monetary value and finances, memorable advertising and marketing, but to many, success is a personal opinion. In terms of fashion it could be based upon the consumers like for the brands product, or an advertising campaign that made a positive impression on them.

Many brands today are sporting a CSR approach and are trying to give back to the environment or community. This factor to some is something that will place many brands higher above others in personal preference. To define success, more than one factor must be analysed. Both a quantitative and qualitative approach must be used. This report will look at both approaches looking at current secondary data of each chosen company drawing conclusions of success from there as well as planning means of carrying out lucrative primary data allowing a qualitative approach to the findings. 1. 2 Market Research

From the Fashion Trak frameworks of industry leaders, the chosen category for this report is Department & General Stores and within that looking at Men aged 25-34. Within the fashion industry there isn’t normally much of a focus on Men’s shopping habits. A greater understanding will be gained from looking into this sector. Men are notorious for being unenthusiastic shoppers, often choosing stores where they can satisfy other interests (Mintel) The TGI lifestyle groups look at the different life stages and show an insight into where they spend their money and what on. Men aged 25-34 fall predominantly into: – Fledglings – Flown the nest Nest Builders | |% | |All |56. 7 | |Fledglings |67. 3 | |Nest Builders |66. 7 | |Flown the Nest |65. 8 | |Unconstrained Couples |58. 6 | |Senior Sole Decision Makers |58. 3 | |Playschool Parents |55. | |Secondary School Parents |54. 2 | |Empty Nesters |52. 4 | |Mid-life Independents |50. 7 | Fig. 1 Mintel – Men’s Fashion Lifestyles 2009 It is apparent that the men in the first of these groups have the highest interest in their appearance and that as their priorities change there is a decrease (Fig. 1). This discovery lead to the initial interest of looking at the types of retailer’s men in these ages shopped predominantly in.

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Fashion Trak shows that for men of this age, Department and General Stores featured highly among the clothing multiples and discount stores. (See Appendix 1) 2. 0 Secondary Research Findings. The use of the October 2010 Fashion Trak report showed that there where four Genera & Department stores in the top 20 retailers for this age group. These results are done on Expenditure % and although they offer an initial visual to the most successful it is important to look at the other methods of success previously mentioned to gain a fuller knowledge.

Marks and Spencer’s, Debenhams and House of Fraser are clear runners on the UK high street. FAME can be used to take a look at the financial data of each company, looking at Turnover, Profit and other factors. This provides a numerical value of success between the three of them. The results of which are shown bellow. When looking at the financial data of a company it is important to note that it may not be accurate. Figures may be out of date, estimates or not take inflation into account. Because of this, the data below must be treated as a representation and not necessarily the correct numbers. . 1 Horizontal Analysis. 2. 1. 1 Turnover The bellow graphs (Fig 2 & 3) show a clear visual of all three company’s Turnover and % change for the past three years. It is important to note the difference in scale across these graphs. Turnover is the money generated through business activity, be it selling of products or services. It shows how much money has been produced in a given space of time Fig 2 – Debenhams Turnover: Source FAME Fig 3 – M&S Turnover: Source FAME You can see that both M&S and Debenhams have seen an overall increase in Turnover over the past three years.

The line showing the % Change for both of these company’s reiterates the growth patterns for both. Whilst Debenhams has seen a steady continuous increase M&S saw a relatively stable growth grow rapidly from 2009 to 2010. This growth could be due to the 49% increase in only sales through M&S Direct. (Thomas, R. 2010) As well as what M&S Group Finance and Operations Director, Ian Dyson, puts down to “improved market conditions. ” (M&S Online) Although at a lower scale, Debenhams has increased continuously at a fixed rate. Fig 4 – House of Fraser Turnover – Source FAME

Whilst M&S and Debenhams have seen increases in turnover, House of Fraser has not (Fig 4. ) For the past five years (See Appendix 3 for full finances 2005-2010) House of Fraser, has seen a continuous decrease in its Turnover. Much of this will be due to the UK Recession. 2. 1. 2 Gross Profit A 2009 Drapers Online report discusses the increase in sales of 4. 5% over the 2008 Christmas period, a long with increase in Gross Profit for House of Fraser, stating that “The performance appears to be ahead of rival department store Debenhams” (Brown, J. 009) At this point it is important to notify that the FAME report for House of Fraser does not seem accurate as with both Gross Profit and other figures, House of Fraser does not hold a lead over Debenhams. Their online financials do not go past 2008 and so in this case it is hard to measure the financial performance against that of M&S and Debenhams in a fair way. Gross profit enables us to look at the profit a company makes once it has taken away the cost of sales. Fig 5. Debenhams Gross Profit – Source FAME From Fig 5 and looking at the FAME figures, it seems that Debenhams does incur high cost of sales.

Although the graph seems to show a huge increase between 2009/2010, these costs have neither increased nor decreased dramatically over the past three years, as the difference has remained relatively stable. Where Turnover has increased so have the figures for Gross Profit, The difference between the two has remained similar with gross profit increasing on average by 5. 23% a year. Fig 6. M&S Gross Profit – Source FAME Fig 6 shows that in 2009 there is what looks like high costs of sales resulting in a much lower Gross Profit. 010 saw a greater increase in turnover than previous years, which when placed next to 2010’s gross profit shows a near consistent expenditure for cost of sales. Although high, there have been no radical increases in it. 2. 1. 3 Operating Profit Although Turnover is an important measure of a company’s success, Operating Profit provides a better grasp of how much money the company has made, as it is the figures from after the deduction of the costs of production or in the case of Debenhams, expenditure on purchases. Fig 7. Operating Profit – Source FAME

Marks and Spencers are still a clear leader inturns of overall operating profit. However the figures and graph show that is suffered a significant decrease in 2008/9. Both Debenhams and House of Fraser seem not to have suffered at this time. This decrease will be due to a knock on effect from the decrease in turnover which effected gross profit as well. 2. 2 Vertical Analysis The margin ratios give a good incite into the overall management efficiency. It is important to look at them as a whole not individually. 2. 2. 1 House of Fraser |2010 | |2009 | |2008 | | |Gross Margin |60. 42 |2% |58. 99 |3% |57. 27 |28% | |Net Margin | 2. 87 |12% | 3. 25 |50% | 2. 16 |112% | Fig 8. Gross and Net Margin for House of Fraser. Source FAME This table shows the Gross and Profit Margins of House of Fraser over the past three years.

House of Fraser show a good Gross margin, and one that has steadily increased over the past three years. In 2010 for every ? 1 of turnover 60. 42p was left after cost of sales, showing that they have low costs of sales. The Net Margin on the other hand is a lot lower that the Gross Margin. From the Profit and Loss account you can see that this is due to their Admin Expenses being high. ROCE shows (Fig 9) the percentage return on the capital invested in a business. This figure can be used to by potential investors as well as within the company in order to make cost efficient decision. |2010 | |2009 | |2008 | | |ROCE |9. 58 |6% |10. 23 |27% |8. 07 |109% | Fig 9. ROCE for House of Fraser. Source FAME In terms of potential investment, the figures for House of Fraser are relatively low, although they are not in negative numbers, it can be seen that for every ? 1 invested into the company only 9. 6 p will be generated in turnover. 2. 2. 2 M&S and Debenhams

Unlike House of Fraser both Debenhams and M&S have much lower figures for their Gross Margins,(Fig10) showing they’re cost of sales is greater than that of House of Fraser | | | | | | | | |2010 | | | | | | | |2009 | | | | | | | |2008 | | | | | | | | | | | |M&S | | | |37. 94 | | | |2% | | | |37. 21 | | | |4% | | | |38. 5 | | | |1% | | | | | | | |Debenhams | | | |15. 43 | | | |8% | | | |14. 32 | | | |3% | | | |14. 6 | | | |13% | | | | | | | |Fig 10. Gross Margins for Debenhams and M&S. Source FAME | | | | | | | | | | | However when compared next to their Net margin as well, the difference is noticeably small that House of Fraser’s. | |2010 | |2009 | |2008 | | |Gross Margin M&S |37. 4 |2% |37. 21 |4% |38. 65 |1% | |Net Margin M&S |7. 37 |5% |7. 79 |38% |12. 51 |15% | Fig 11. Gross and Net Margin for M&S. Source FAME Both the Gross margin and the Net margin for M&S are low (Fig 11). In order to improve their Net Margin, the expenses must be looked at and a reduction of the proportion of expenses paid out of every ? 1 must be reduced. The Gross margin for Debenhams is also low (Fig 12) , showing again as well as with both House of Fraser and M&S that there is high expenditure.

The margin between Gross and Net compared to the other two companies is narrow, this shows that in terms of other costs before taxation and interest they are low. | |2010 | |2009 | |2008 | | |Gross Margin D |15. 43 |8% |14. 32 |3% |14. 76 |13% | |Net Margin D |11. 74 |4% |11. 33 |12% |12. 85 |7% | Fig 12. Gross and Net Margin for Debenhams. Source FAME Although as stated their expenses are low, the Gross margin shows that cost of sales are very high, some thing that is arguably too high for a company that does not produce clothes but buys them in.

This could also be attributed to the fact that as a brand they have a lot of markdowns (Blue X Sales), which put pressure on their margins. As with House of Fraser ROCE allows us to see if the company would be deemed a good one to invest in as well as other factors. | |2010 | |2009 | |2008 | | |ROCE M&S |8. 9 |4% |9. 31 |36% |14. 44 |10% | |ROCE Debenhams |29. 43 |9% |26. 88 |9% |29. 66 |12% | Fig 13. ROCE for M&S and Debenhams. Source FAME

It is clear that between the three company’s Debenhams has the highest ROCE. (Fig. 13) 3. 0 Primary Data Research 3. 1 Aim: The aim of this secondary research is to determin the most successful fashion company in General & Department stores for Men ages 25-34 in the uk fashion industry 3. 2 Objectives: 1. To determin a qualitative definition of success. 2. Decide upon a relevant research method to use to undertake an academic and successful way of research. 3. To find a suitable method to use in conjunction with the already analysed secondary research. 3. 3 Methodology: In order to ensure the questionnaire is carried out in an accurate and appropriate way a carefully designed plan of action must be made.

The best results are when the questionnaire can grasp a good collection of resualts from a random field. The sample is an important factor, deciding upon who to ask must be taken into consideration. There are various methods of doing this that include. Quota sampling is a method where by the interviewee chooses people inevitably at random but which all show signs of differences based on the chosen interest. (Arsham, H) Stratified sampling is a method of random selection with in a sub group Cluster sampling where an intire department is used. (Easterby-Smith et al. , 2002: 136) It is important here to focus on the target group at question; Men aged 25-34.

Any of the three methods chosen above would be relevant. However in this istance a Quota Sampling method will be used. This allows for the questions to be targetted at males only. Cluster sampling would not have allowed for this as a in order to find a male only/dominated unit would be near impossible without added prejudices. It is also imperative to decide upon the size of a sample. In order to gain an appropriate and relevant understand the size must be one that will provide enough answers to analyse. When conducting this questionnaire an initial numnber of 150 people will be approached. A questionnaire can either be done face to face or not.

When conducting a non face to face questionnaire, it would be difficult to control the span of people it would reach. Online programs such as Survey Monkey are one way of spreading a survey, however in many cases this wouldn’t result in random selection of applicants as it is most likey to be sent on to friends and family. For this survey the starting point for gathering answers will be done on a face to face basis. When designing a questionnaire for face to face gathereing. There are areas to consider which may in turn casue limitations. Many people will not have time to answer a long questionanire and so short, snappy easy to answer questions are imperative.

As well as this keeping the overall length of the questionnaire short. In order to maximise time, make placing the most important questions towards the first half will allow for error if time runs out. The question types must be kept in mind for the planing and creating, looking at both the phrasing of the question as well as choosing the method best suited for the answer. In this instance this questionnaire will firstly need to obtain Nominal and Interval data. In order to seek to answer the Aim only men must be asked, and although not always appropriate in this case it is imporatnt to ask about age. Some people will not be willing to give their xact age and so in this case it will be just asked if they fall into the 24-35 age bracket. Once this has been found the basis of the rest of the questionnaire will use the Likert Scale. A scale that measures the stregth of agreement towards a certain statement or subject. An example of a Likert Scale can be seen in Appendix 2. This method can be used to also look at frequency, importance, likelihood and quality of product or serivice. When using the Likert Scale to look at frequency, agreement is not nessecerily the best method of gaining a quick answer, it is important to not that the perosn being asked the questions may not remember how often they for instance shop at Debenhams.

In this case an other box where they or you can add an extra note or different answer is usefull. As well as this there are many other ways to form questions, – a comment box where there is no help/hint to gain and answer and the oppinons of the intervewee can be voiced. – a ranking or scale method can be used, where level of importance is ranked say 1-5, 5 being most important, 1 being least. Situations like this must be considered to allow for the questionnaire to run smoothly and to make sure the best results are achieved. It is best to try out these various methods within a prototype to see which ones will work best in certain circumstances. Bell, 2005:138) When conducting the design of a questionnaire a prototype or pilot version which can be tested on a friend or two is a good way of seeing if there is continuity and that is is quick and easy to fill out. An example of a prototype for this research this can be found in Appendix 4. The use of this prototype can also be used to asses the wording. Bell looks at the different means of commonly used “survey words” Stating it is important to know how one word to one person could potentially mean something very different to another. As well as meaning, careful selection must be made to assure statements are not made that could be deamed offensive.

This questionnaire seeks a positivist approach to the research proposal where by the observer remains autonomous of the subjects being observed, where by the data can provide ideas to be assumed it will seek to find out the personal opinions of the consumers of the UK high street, this approach will use a qualititative form of questionnaire. It will seek to obstract oppinions rather than fact. The findings from this questionnaire will seek to provide a theory of which to base the conclusion of this research. It is there for and dedutive approach. (Bryman and Bell, 2007) Method: In this occasion the questionnaire is being designed to gather customer information and perception of Debenhams, M&S and House of Fraser. In order to get information for all three, the locations picked will have to be ones where all three of these retailers are present. This will of course not always be the case, and so larger cities across the UK would have to be chosen.

London’s Oxford Street houses all three, however it is an extrodinerily busy place and so completion would prove difficult. Smaller secondary cities and area’s around the capital would be more beneficial. The placement of the questionnaire would need to be around the loaction of each store. Equal ammount of time would need to be spent at each location with approximate equall surveys filled as well. A mutual area in the main shopping area would also provide a good location. In order to ask as many shoppers as possible as well as gather a greater variety, a weekend day would be used. However to gain a great depth a week day should also be considered as well.

Results: Once a representative sample of surveys have been completed, the results will be gathered in and then an indepth analysis will take place. As the survey will have been altered and throughrally designed, the answers to all questions should provide helpful contributions to its chosen field of research. Correlations between the quanitative secondary research and the qualitative primary research will be looked at at this stage and from then on it can be seen wherther or not there are any trends between them. The results of this stage will then begin to form the basis and main argument in drawing a conclusion to the Aim. Ethical Consideration:

Due to the ethnographic nature of this research, one must take into carefull consideration the code of conduct for the establishment underwhich he/she is working. The University of the Arts, Code of Ethics requires that all research be carried out in a responsible way that complys with the code. Helth and saftey must take prominent position and in many cases a risk assesment must be carried out before starting research. This factor is important when undertaking a survey on location as said area must be deamed a safe working environment. When approaching an intervewee it is important that they are clear of who the questionnaire is for and what it is going to be used for. It is essential to gain their consent before the survey is taken any further. Bell 2005:45) All participents of the research should understand that they are gauranteed a right to privacy as well as having both theyre physical and psychological independence respected. Potential Limitations: When conducting a questionnaire there are a various number of limitations that must be carefully looked at. For starters the location and distribution. Although it is easy to say when and where it will be carried out, consumer shopper habits change daily and may be affected by external factors such as the weather, something that could alter the gatheriing accuracy of the data. A questionnaire is a timing consuming method of collecting data. Many people will not want to be stoppped in the street whilst with their family of friends, and if a survey is sent on via email they are not neccessirily going to read it.

With the collection of a face to face survey, some people may feel uneasy viocing their feelings in front of someone they do not know. A questionnaire provides an easy and simply way of obtaining market information first hand from the consumer. However in some situations it may not nesseccerily be the best form of obtaining data. The use of a focus group or smaller more personal interviews could be used in conjunction to this in order to provide a wider knowledge on consumers thoughts as suggested by Webb et al (1966. ) in his Trianulation Model. (Bryman and Bel, 2007:413) Word Count: 3229 Bibliography Arsham, H. (1994) ‘Questionnaire Design and Survey Sampling’ [Online] Available at: http://home. ubalt. edu/ntsbarsh/stat-data/surveys. htm#rssm (Accessed: 19th March 2011)

Bel, J. (2005) Doing your research project: a guide for first time researchers in education, health and social science. 4th ed. Maidenhead : Open University Press Brown, J. (2009) ‘House of Fraser reports solid xmas’ [Online] Available at: http://www. drapersonline. com/news/house-of-fraser-reports-solid-xmas/1960772. article (Accessed: 23rd March) Bryman & Bel, (2007) Business Research Methods. 2nd ed. Oxford: OUP Oxford Easterby –Smith et al. (2002) Management Research. 3rd ed. London: Sage Fashion Trak (2010) Kantar published October 2010 Harrison, I. (2009) A-Z Handbook: Accounting. 3rd ed. Oxfordshire: Philip Allan Hunt, N & Tyrrell, S. 2004) ‘ Cluster Sampling’ [Online] Available at: http://www. coventry. ac. uk/ec/~nhunt/meths/cluster. html (Accessed : 19th March) ‘Mens Fashion Lifestyles’ (2009) Mintel Published April 2010 Thomas, R. (2010) ‘Marks & Spencer online sales grow 49%’ [Online] Available at: http://www. computerweekly. com/Articles/2010/07/07/241882/Marks-amp-Spencer-online-sales-grow-49. htm (Accessed: 22nd March) Wood, Z. (2007) ‘ House of Fraser’s Debts Halve’. [Online] Available at: http://www. guardian. co. uk/business/2007/jul/22/retail. theobserver1 (Accessed: 23rd March 2011) http://www. marksandspencer. com/ (2011) Accessed: 19th March 2011 Appendix Appendix 1 – Fashion Trak Menswear aged 24-35 |12 m/e Oct 2010 Share | |Next/Dir |9. 6 | |Marks and Spencer |7. 1 | |Debenhams |5. 8 | |Burtons |3. 8 | |Sports Direct |3. 5 | |Primark |3. 4 | |House of Fraser |3. | |Total Asda |2. 9 | |River Island |2. 9 | |Matalan |2. 8 | |TK Maxx |2. 8 | |Tesco |2. 8 | |Topshop/Man |2. 4 | |Sports Direct Group |1. 9 | |JJB Sport |1. | |Total Moss Bros |1. 4 | |Ebay. com |1. 3 | |John Lewis |1. 2 | |H&M |1. 2 | |The Gap |1. 2 | Appendix 2 – Likert Scale Example I find the clothing in M&S suitable for my age range: a) Strongly Agree b) Agree c) Undecided d) Disagree e) Strongly disagree Appendix 4 – Questionnaire Prototype

A Survey to gather information on the opinions of Males ages 24-35 about Department and General Stores especially House of Fraser, M&S and Debenhams 1. Do you fall with in the age bracket 24-35 ? 2. How often do you visit your local high street? – Once a month – Occasionally on the weekend – Every weekend – More than once a week 3. Is this usually for shopping purposes? Yes No 4. Using the scale 1-5, 1 being most popular 5 being least, rank these stores in preference for apparel shopping. House of Fraser John Lewis Marks and Spencer’s Debenhams Next 5. For your chosen top retailer from Q4. Why have you chosen this one? 6. Discounting Debenhams and John Lewis, what are your perceptions of the remaining stores? House of Fraser – Debenhams – Marks and Spencer’s – 7.

For what product would you go to each store to buy? | |Casual Day Wear |Work Wear I,e Suits |Home wear and lifestyle |Formal Wear |Underwear | |M&S | | | | | | |DEBENHAMS | | | | | | |HOUSE OF FRASER | | | | | |

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