Solutions for Retail Management Case Study

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CASE NO. 1 FOR THE OUTLOOK FOR SOFT GOODS SPECIALITY STORES Introduction Soft goods specialty retailers are on a quest to grow, with the high-growth ``stars’’ working to maintain momentum by rolling out successful concepts nationally while investing in new concepts that offer long-term promise. The less stellar performers are reinvigorating tired concepts and strengthening margins via better inventory and promotion management. A saturated marketplace will motivate more specialists at both ends of the spectrum to seek growth by building a portfolio of concepts focused on ever-finer customer groups. Concepts will vie for more attention by developing and applying deep customer insights to their assortment strategy, the shopping experience, and store brand building and communication. The The Retail Landscape Many soft goods specialty retailers have seen recent improvements in sales and profits, but for most, the recovery is modest in nature and has done little to negate the pervasive price pressure on retail margins. The sustainability of the recovery is questionable given poor comparable stores sales performance. Modest Recovery Since bottoming out in the first part of this decade, sales have steadily improved in both the apparel and accessories specialty store and shoe specialty store channels. Yet, growth remains modest compared to the late 1990s. …2… The long-term sales outlook for apparel and accessories specialty stores is stronger than for shoe stores. Apparel stores are forecast to grow in the 4 to 5 percent range annually through 2008, while shoe stores are forecast to grow mostly around 1 percent a year over the same time period. Much of the sale improvement has gone straight to the bottom line for apparel and accessories specialty stores. Though still well below its performance in the late 1990s, the sector has

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