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MARKETING PLAN FOR HIGH QUALITY CHILDREN’S CLOTHING STORE IN CRYSTAL PALACE

A.INTRODUCTION

This document defines the strategic and marketing plan of a new firm to be established that will be focused on the retail supply of high quality children’s clothing through, initially, a retail store in Crystal Palace.

B.ORGANISATION AND PRODUCT

A new firm will be started-up to provide high quality children’s clothing to the market in Crystal Palace, Bromley, and London. Crystal Palace will be the shop headquarters of the new firm given the roots of the owners and the preference to help in the development of the local economy through their business. Both owners are from the Crystal Palace area and not only want to base their operations near their homes but also ‘give back’ to their community with the establishment of the start-up business in the area.

The products of the new firm are high quality children’s clothing for years 0-12 with some selected toy offerings as part of the product suite.

C.HISTORY

The owners of the new firm have extensive experience in the high quality children’s clothing sector having spent a large part of their corporate careers in wholesale and retail product development and marketing of high quality children’s clothing. Both have experienced roles nationally in the UK and internationally in various countries. In the past years, they have held responsibilities for the retail marketing of their clothing firms in the London and Southeast area. Over the past year, the owners have seen considerable opportunities in the sector and have thus decided to start their own business in the high quality children’s clothing.

D.STRATEGIC PLAN AND FOCUS

The strategic objective of the new firm is to establish a high quality children’s clothing offering targeting the market in the Crystal Palace, Bromley, and London area, initially while exposure is developed. The key differentiator for the firm will be the offering (high quality children’s clothing at affordable prices since brand premium is minimised) and customer service (personal touch given in the retail store unlike versus competitors).

The focus in the first year is in building the brand of the retail store and increase exposure among the target market.

E.MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the new firm is to deliver high quality children’s clothing at affordable prices to its target market while providing a contribution to the development of the community in Crystal Palace with the establishment of the retail operations and business in the area.

F.GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The goals and objectives of the firm are as follows:

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G.CORE COMPETENCIES / COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

These are expected to be the initial core competencies of the new firm:

H.SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS

The large retail stores provide the most sales of clothing to the UK market. One of the owners could be considered a dominant influence in the market – Philip Green reportedly controls c.12% of the UK clothing market through his department stores and other firms (Time Out, 2006). As prices of high quality clothing have increased, the opportunity to provide high quality clothing at affordable prices has increased as well. A large part of the market is catered to by the large branded retail stores with those demanding more personalised service becoming increasingly marginalised in the market.

I.SWOT ANALYSIS

This section defines the strengths and weaknesses of the new firm and also the opportunities and threats existing within the high quality children’s clothing sector.

I.1.Strengths

I.2.Weaknesses

I.3.Opportunities

I.4.Threats

J.INDUSTRY AND COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

The main competitors for the new business on high quality children’s clothing are the existing retailers, department stores, and high street retail chains offering these products to the market. An example of a larger high street retailer that is a competitor is Marks & Spencer which provides high quality children’s clothing through selected in-house brands (M&S, 2007). Other well-known and branded competitors are: Mothercare, Russell & Bromley, Harrod’s, Selfridges, and even specialised stores such as Nike (for sports-related clothing).

The strengths of these larger-sized competitors are that: (1) they are well-known and have strong brands not only in the area but also nationally, (2) they have good distribution points and their stores are located ‘everywhere’, and (3) people are already aware of the type of quality they will be receiving from these stores. The key weaknesses of these stores are the following: (1) their clothing prices may not necessarily match the quality of the product as the brands place a premium on the prices, (2) the high quality clothing products are sold similarly with their other products of different quality and different types, and (3) the services provided by these stores are very generic and not customised to their market. In addition, a large number of the high quality clothing sourced by these competitors are from overseas and thus impacts on quality and also the fashion that these clothes represent. A recent look at the larger stores show the percentage of their offerings sourced from overseas: Mamas and Papas (toys and baby clothes, 90 per cent), Selfridges (70 per cent), Levi’s (30 per cent), Next (50 per cent), Gap (60 per cent), Burberry (60 per cent), and Zara (30 per cent) (Halliburton et al, 2007).

Closer to size to the new business, other competitors would also be the niche players and mom-and-pop clothing stores catering to and targeting the same market. These types of stores would be closer to the new business in terms of their offering and possible service to customers.

Compared to the general competition, the new business would provide the following unique selling points: (1) customised offering with UK-developed and made products, (2) truly high quality clothes at affordable prices (less brand premium), and (3) good customer service delivery with a personal touch in the retail store.

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K.COMPANY BRIEF

The company will be well positioned as a niche player targeting customers keen on affordable high quality children’s clothes marketed by the owners directly to the customers or by staff hired to be able to provide personal opinions on the clothes being considered by the market. The company’s first store will be in Crystal Palace and the operations to support the business in developing and creating the clothes will also be located in a nearby place in Crystal Palace. This allows the firm to achieve its mission of being providing a contribution to the economy and market development of Crystal Palace.

The near-term high-level plan of key activities of the firm is the following:

Months

Key Activities

1-2

  • Identify and build key spaces – retail store and support operations
  • Hire key staff for retail store and support

2-5

  • Begin plan for initial suite of clothing and toys. Create clothing and toy requirements.
  • Agree on sourcing and product development

5-6

  • Prepare for launch of store

L.CUSTOMER ANALYSIS

The target of the new firm includes those geared towards high quality clothing. Specifically, the market will be those exhibiting the following characteristics:

The market will be the parents of the children as it is the parent who are more likely to see the value of the products offered by the firm. The new firm will be able to offer the following to the target market: (1) high quality clothes, (2) affordable prices, and (3) great customer service during and even after the sales process.

M.ENVIRONMENT ANALYSIS

The market is such that consumers can find their clothing requirements in key cities such as London easily. Even designers in other cities including Paris are able to provide their products to the market in London (Craik, 2007). However, as mentioned earlier, these products are typically much higher priced than their quality provides given the brand name of the products. This despite the fact that a large part of these clothes come from other overseas countries where costs of production are much lower.

There are a number of trends which provide a strong business case for the new firm. These are:

N.MARKETING PLAN

N.1.Market product focus

The products of the retail shop will be high quality clothes for children (boys and girls) aged 0-12 years old. The product line will include school uniform and also some selected toys. The key clothing products will be the following:

The business sees the key breakdown of the their product line in terms of sales as follows:

As the firm will develop its own line of products, it will need to apply for intellectual properties, patents, trademarks, design registration, and copyrights to ensure that it is able to keep these intangibles as part of the firm, and leverage these at a later time when the brand of the firm has grown and there is demand for its products already.

The key suppliers of the new firm will be the tailors providing the fabrics and also other suppliers providing key materials and equipment for the firm to complete the creation of the children’s clothes.

N.2.Marketing and product objectives

The marketing and product objectives of the new firm are the following:

N.3.Target market

The target market are the parents of children in Crystal Palace, Bromley, and London. The retail store will be located in Crystal Palace in South London. The place is ideally situated as it is a part of the Bromley borough, straddles other boroughs such as Southwark, Croydon, and Lambeth, and is easily accessible from London (Blackwood, 2008). A description of Crystal Palace provides a link to the objectives of the new firm. Crystal Palace has been described as “a great, affordable corner of London that gets nicer by the month without being snooty, with fabulous restaurants, great pubs, good shops, and a really good farmers' market” (Dyckhoff, 2007).

While no specific figures have been found on the high quality clothing sector, the average weekly spend on clothing in the UK was c. £13 as of 2006 and increasing (Brown, 2006). This provides an indication of how much could be targeted in terms of the clothing market for children, and for high quality products. However, as mentioned in the threats in the sector, the credit crunch has affected discretionary spending on clothing leading to a ‘declining clothing market’ (Craven and Capaldo, 2008). The UK clothing market is expected to remain challenging throughout 2009 (Foster, 2008).

Nevertheless, despite the seeming challenges in the UK clothing sector, a positive news is that the value sector of the UK clothing sector (where the new firm will be focusing on with high quality affordable clothes) is growing three times the rest of the market (Lyons, 2008).

N.4.Points of difference

The following are the points of difference for the new firm that will allow it to provide a different offering versus competitors:

The good customer service delivery will include both service in-store as well as after-sales thus giving customers the requisite guarantees related to the products.

N.5.Positioning

The high quality children’s clothing provided by the firm will be positioned in the market as of very high quality at affordable prices but unbranded and with less fashion flair. This will entice the parents of the children searching for value and quality in their children’s clothing. The retail store will be positioned as a niche play as there will only be one store while the build-up of the brand and the products is pursued.

N.6.Marketing Programme Strategy and Tactics

This section defines the strategy and tactics of the marketing programme. The 7Ps of marketing are used as the structure to present the programme.

A. Product line

Strategy

  • Introduce the new range of high quality affordable clothing to the market

Tactics

  • Utilise current network of owners and introduce the product to the market
  • Position the product as high quality but at affordable prices

The quality of the products sold will be monitored closely to ensure the high quality image of the retail store and brand. A quality assessment will be conducted regularly by the owners to ensure that the clothes meet the requirements.

B. Pricing

Strategy

  • Introduce the children’s clothing at above the low-priced products to reflect the high quality value of the products

Tactics

  • Provide pricing range that high quality clothing seekers will find affordable and attractive
  • Potentially, price the products at lower than planned margins in order to encourage the purchase of the products as it increases exposure in the market
  • Provide discounts to large buyers (i.e. several items)

C. Place

Strategy

  • Establish base/headquarters for retail store to develop overall brand and image

Tactics

  • Utilise planned retail store in Crystal Palace as the base
  • Develop retail store as key presence in Crystal Palace for must-see visit of visitors in the area

As the retail store will be small-sized in the first instance, the store will only occupy a one-floor retail shop. The floor plan will be defined once a retail store has been identified.

D. Promotion

Strategy

  • Build up the brand and the new children’s clothing product range to the target market

Tactics

  • Work locally to promote products including in local newspapers
  • Encourage word-of-mouth build-up of the brand and products through the initial customers
  • Utilise website to increase exposure to the target market
  • Link with local entities such as the Crystal Palace Football Club to build image and brand, which is consistent with the overall objective of the new firm. The Crystal Palace FC is active in the community with various links set up to take advantage of the popularity of the club and the sports in the area. An example of a recent link-up includes the Football Foundation's Kickz project (Riddoch, 2008).

The promotions programme will be dynamic and will require the use of research to validate assumptions. This will be done through data from sales, questionnaires and surveys provided to customers, and other external research.

E. Process

Strategy

  • Define efficient operations for the business from concept of children’s clothing to delivery of services

Tactics

  • (Initially) Involve one of the owners in all aspects of the operations to ensure (1) knowledge of the business, and (2) place discipline in process to establish efficiency

F. Physical Evidence

Strategy

  • Establish image of good corporate citizen providing excellent customer service as a retail shop

Tactics

  • Work closely with the local government
  • Hire only people passionate in improving the Crystal Palace local community

G. People

Strategy

  • Tap people with common objectives as the new firm

Tactics

  • Hire people with a passion for the local area community to ensure delivery of good customer services in retail store
  • Liaise with local government to build ways to expose the retail store with the Crystal Palace links
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O.FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS AND METRICS, AND TIMETABLE

The start-up capital of the firm is £60,000. The firm will utilise the start-up capital in building the business and will not tap any additional sources of funds in the first year of the business. As the start-up capital was sourced from the two owners, there has not been any security guaranteed to other capital providers, since these have not been tapped. The firm will utilise internal cash generated to provide for the funding requirements of the business. The key performance metric to be used as the business is grown is the sales growth over the first few years.

The rest of this section provides information about the planned financials and metrics of the business.

O.1.Financial Projections

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Sales

£100,000

£250,000

£450,000

Cost of Sales

£40,000

£100,000

£180,000

SG&A

£50,000

£100,000

£150,000

Profit before tax

£10,000

£50,000

£120,000

Tax expenses

£4,000

£20,000

£48,000

Profit after tax

£6,000

£30,000

£72,000

Given the lack of information on the market size of the target segment for the area considered, it would be difficult to provide a figure for the market share. Nevertheless, the plan of the firm is to be able to capture c.5% of the market by year 3 of the segment in the target area of Crystal Palace, Bromley, and London.

The initial balance sheet of the firm is forecast and estimated to be as follows:

Sources of funds

Uses of funds

Start-up capital

£60,000

Cash

£5,000

Retail store refurbishing and tenancy

£12,000

Initial Clothing Inventory

£20,000

Staff Payments

£15,000

Business start-up (including registration and tax payments)

£8,000

TOTAL

£60,000

TOTAL

£60,000

O.2.Implementation Plan

The schedule of the main activities supporting this marketing plan is presented in the table. This includes the promotion schedule, and evaluation and control activities. An evaluation of the ongoing business will be conducted on a quarterly basis as well as a more detailed evaluation at the end of the year. A risk assessment will be conducted as part of the performance reviews of the business.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

Month

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Find retail space

Develop floor plan and retail store

Hire key staff for the business

Liaise with the local government

Local press advertisement and press releases

Website development

Launch of retail store

Quarterly performance review

Annual performance review

Quality assessment of products

REFERENCES

AFX Asia (2008), ‘Marks & Spencer cautious on outlook as profit hits symbolic 1 bln pounds’, 20 May 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Blackwood, L. (2008), ‘Focus on Crystal Palace’, The Times, 18 April 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Brown, J. P. (2006), ‘High Street Analysis - Hit or miss’, Drapers Record, 14 October 2006, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Craik, L. (2007), ‘French Invasion’, The Evening Standard, 21 May 2007, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Craven, C, & Capaldo, F. (2008), Debenhams chiefs hold their pay’, The Mail on Sunday, 24 August 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Dyckhoff, T. (2007), ‘LET'S MOVE TO...: Crystal Palace, south London’, The Guardian, 4 August 2007, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Estates Gazette (2008), ‘Reigning men’, 19 July 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Foster, G. (2008), ‘Market report’, Daily Mail, 12 August 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Halliburton, R., Openshaw, J., Pattinson, T., & Taylor, R. (2007), ‘Made in China - China in your hands Chinese influence in London extends well beyond the dragons of Gerrard Street’, Time Out, 10 October 2007, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Lyons, T. (2008),’Suppliers count cost’, The Sunday Times, 18 May 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Marks & Spencer (2007), ‘Marks & Spencer Group PLC - Interim Results Amendment’, Regulatory News Service, 6 November 2007, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Riddoch, V. (2008), ‘Innovations - Free gym for residents on London estate’, Regeneration & Renewal, 1 August 2008, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Spencer, J., & Schechner, S. (2006), ‘Fashion: The custom craze’, The Wall Street Journal, 22 December 2006, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

Time Out (2006), ‘Movers and shakers 2006’, 29 November 2006, [online], accessed on 23 August 2008 from Global Factiva Database, http://factiva.com

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