You’ll select a retailer and research, examine, and report your findings in the following
three areas:
1. Strategic analysis
2. Store layout, design, and visual merchandising
3. Internet retailing

You’ll answer a set of questions for each of the above-mentioned areas, using the infor- mation in your textbook, information from your research, and any other information you’ve learned to support your positions.


Project Specifications
For this graded project, select a retailer that you’re interested in from the following list:

American Eagle Outfitter Ann Taylor Apple
Autocone Bed Bath & Beyond Best Buy
Costco CVS Caremark Dollar General
Family Dollar Finish Line Foot Locker
Home Depot Kohl’s Korger
Lowe’s Macy’s Men’s Warehouse
Michaels Nordstrom Office Depot
Pep Boys PetSmart Pier 1 Imports
Ross Stores Safeway Staples
Target Tiffany & Co. Walgreens
Wet Seal Whole Foods Market Zales

You’ll prepare a paper and presentation using APA format about your chosen retailer.

Your project will contain the following sections:
1. Title Page
2. Strategic Analysis
3. Store Layout, Design, and Visual Merchandising
4. Internet Retailing
5. Works Cited

With the exception of the title page, each section should begin on a new page and should be labeled with the appropriate header. For example, the header for the Strategic Analysis section would be Strategic Analysis.
The questions for each section should be typed using a word-processing program. Each answer for that section should be labeled by its number/designation and question and should be answered in an essay/paragraph format.
This project requires you to research your chosen retailer, and you’ll need to find, cite, and reference a minimum of three sources of information using APA format. Do not summarize information without giving credit to the source from which it was drawn.
Be sure to double-space your answers with left and right margins of 1 inch, flush left and ragged right. Use a plain 12-point font, such as Times New Roman.

Section 1: Title Page
The first section of your graded project is the title page, which requires the following information:
n Title (Retail Management)
n Your name
n Your student number
n Graded project number: 08068700
n The date

Section 2: Strategic Analysis

All of the previously listed retailers are publicly held companies, meaning that you can access financial statements and annual reports. Many reports can be found at the SEC’s website,, and annual reports can be found online at the company’s website or by calling the company and requesting a report be sent to you as a potential investor.

You’ll find the information you need to complete the assignment using databases and resources, including the following:
n Magazine articles, such as those in Money
n Television, including channels such as MSNBC
n Websites such as Google Finance, CNN Money, Bloomberg, Forbes, MarketWatch,
E*TRADE, and Scottrade
n Any provider of financial and industry news information, such as the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily

Answer the following questions in your project:
1. Provide a brief overview of the retail sector in which the retailer operates.
a. What economic factors and environmental factors (if any) are affecting
the retailer?
b. What are the competitive pressures, evolving and emerging technologies, effects of online selling. changing demographics and buying preferences, consumer behavior issues, and image issues affecting this retailer and how it conducts business?
2. Describe your retailer.
a. What is your retailer’s primary business?
b. What is its business model—how does it choose to operate?
c. What is its corporate strategy?
d. What are its goals?
e. How has your retailer changed and evolved over time?
f. What parts of the business are growing and generate the most revenue?
g. How is your retailer seeking to increase revenue in the future?
3. Complete a corporate analysis.
a. Has the retailer been profitable during its last fiscal year?
b. What are its projections for the future?
c. Is the retailer expanding or contracting its operations?
d. How does this retailer compare financially to other retailers in its industry?

4. Do a financial analysis of your retailer and two to five of its top competitors.
a. What is the revenue growth, return on assets, gross margin, net margin, gross margin return on investment, and inventory turnover?
b. What does this analysis say about how your retailer operates and its profitability?
c. What can your retailer do to improve its profitability?
5. Analyze the competition.
a. Who are the retailer’s competitors, both direct and indirect?
b. How does your retailer compare to these competitors in terms of its size, market dominance/share, sales, profitability, and so on?
c. What is your retailer’s competitive strength?
d. Are there strategies that haven’t worked for the retailer?
e. What retailers have the retailer identified as competitive threats? Why?
6. Determine the retail market strategy.
a. Who is the retailer’s target audience? (Describe the audience demographically and psychographically, if possible.) How does this compare to the competition?
b. What image does the retailer want to convey? How does it compare to its current image in the industry and in the minds of consumers? How does it compare with competitors’ images?
c. How has technology affected the way the retailer conducts business? How does it make use of the Web, e-commerce, supply chain management, information systems, and so on?
d. What is the retailer’s global presence and strategy? Has it been successful?
Why or why not?
e. What is the retailer’s location strategy and why?
f. Describe their merchandising strategy: how they buy, what they buy, breadth versus depth of merchandise, and so on. How is it reflected in their financial strategy.
g. What is the retailer’s pricing strategy, and how does this affect profitability?
h. What is the retailer’s approach to advertising and sales promotions? Has it been effective?
i. What challenges does your retailer face in terms of the retail strategy variables just described? Do some appear to be working better than others?

7. Summarize your retailer’s primary strengths and weaknesses and support your assessment.
a. What are the retailer’s largest opportunities, both now and in the future?
b. What are the retailer’s biggest challenges, both now and in the future? How is it preparing to meet those challenges?
8. Describe what you think the future holds for this retailer.
a. If you were hired as the CEO, what specific strategies would you pursue in the future for this retailer?
b. What opportunities would you capitalize on? Why?

Section 3: Store Layout, Design, and Visual Merchandising

Go to one of the retailer’s physical locations and evaluate the store layout, design, and visual merchandising techniques employed. Be sure to reference the concepts you’ve learned in your chapters.
Select a particular product. (You’ll be using this product to compare with your Internet shopping experience.) Review the next section on Internet retailing to understand the information that will need to be gathered complete the next section of the research project.

After you’ve done your research, explain your answers to the following questions:
1. Appearance
a. Is the store layout, design, and visual merchandising techniques used con- sistent with the exterior of the store and the location? What does it say about the type of store this is and the market it is trying to attract?
b. Is the store’s ambiance consistent with the merchandise presented and your
expectations as a customer?
c. Does the store need a face-lift, update, remodel, or renovation? What improvements would you suggest?

2. Fixtures
a. Does the lighting highlight merchandise, structure space, capture a mood, or downplay unwanted features?
b. Are the fixtures consistent with the merchandise and the overall ambiance of
the store?
c. What type of image do the fixtures portray?
3. Promotions
a. Does the store’s signage effectively sell merchandise?
b. Has the retailer used any theatrical effects to help sell merchandise?
c. Does the store make creative use of wall space to sell product?
d. Does the sales staff use suggestive selling?
e. Is the sales staff friendly and helpful?
f. Is the image of the staff consistent with the image of the store?
4. Layout
a. Does the store layout help draw people throughout the store? Why or why not?
b. How does the layout facilitate purchases?
c. What type of layout is used? Would another type of layout be better?
5. Merchandising
a. Has the retailer employed any techniques for achieving greater space productivity such as using the “cube,” downsizing gondolas and racks, minimizing no-selling space, and so on?
b. Are there any displays that increase interest in the products being offered? If not, would you recommend any?
c. How has the retailer organized merchandise? What improvements could be made?
6. Critique

Summarize your suggestions on how this retailer can improve the shopping experience for its customers, increase sales, and improve its image.

Section 4: Internet Retailing

Go to the retailer’s website and shop for a product. Select the product and place it in the shopping cart. Go through the checkout procedure up to the point where you’re asked to enter credit card or checkout information. Important: You don’t actually need to purchase any products or services.

After you’ve done your research, answer the following questions in detail:
1. How do you compare your experience shopping on the Internet to shopping in a local store for this type of product?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet shopping experience?
3. Describe the Internet shopping experience using the following criteria:
n Price
n Suggestive selling n Website features n Design of website
n Ease of website use
n Closing of the sale

Section 5: Works Cited Page
Be sure to include a works cited page at the end of your project. Using APA format, include a list of all the sources you consulted. Visit Purdue Online Writing Lab,, for information about
APA-formatted works cited pages.

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