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This paper is an analysis of Sleep Country Canada (Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc.). It provides results indicating that their business strategy of growth and reinvestment into the décor of the showrooms has been highly successful. “The company’s 21st consecutive quarter of same store sales growth accentuates their continued market share growth and underscores their position as Canada’s leading specialty mattress retailer.” (News Wire). With the addition of new stores and enhancing existing locations, Sleep Country has positioned itself to be competitive in the saturated marketplace of selling mattresses. Their success is driven by their strategy of providing local and accessible stores, with ease of shopping, delivery and guaranteed customer satisfaction. “Sleep Country is Canada’s leading sleep retailer and the only specialty mattress and bedding retailer with a national footprint in Canada.” (News Wire) All of Sleep Country’s stores and owned corporately which enables them to control operations, advertising and distribution.
Founded in 1994, Sleep Country Canada (Sleep Country Holdings Inc.) opened in Vancouver, BC with four stores. Today it has over 260 locations across Canada. In order to stay successful and competitive, companies need to develop and execute an ever-evolving business strategy. This strategy needs to be communicated out to each employee so they understand the ‘road map’ of the organization. Sleep Country Canada subscribes to this philosophy and shares its vision of growth with employees and shareholders. New product innovation, enhanced showroom design and new store openings have positioned Sleep Country well for continued growth. Their operational and market strategies are shared with employees so they deliver the experience customers are expecting. Sharing company results is equally vital. Store, District and Regional Scorecards give employees an understanding of how their performance is contributing to corporate results. “New product innovation coupled with a more targeted investment in infomercials and our enhanced store design bolstered our accessories business – as seen in all our stores, and online. Compared to this time last year, our accessories business grew by 12.8% to $37.7 million from $33.4 million.” (News Wire).
Sleep Country is governed by an eight member Corporate Board of Directors, who analyse the financial, ethical and operational strategy of the business. They are supported by Governance documents regarding articles and by-laws, chapter and position descriptions, and policies. What is particularly noticeable is that the Director and CEO of Sleep Country, David Friesema, is also on the Board of Directors. “CEOs who sit on the board hold a position of great privilege but also great responsibility. With an equal voice at the board table, CEOs can enjoy more stature and influence among board members.” (Isakson).
Strategic planning forms a large part of Sleep Country’s growth initiative. “Great strategy comes from exceptional insight”. (Isakson). It is important in the highly competitive marketplace for companies to be confident and cognizant of their strategy. Without one, the company is likely to fail.
Importance of Business Strategy
There is an old adage that states without vision, the people perish. In short, business strategy is the cornerstone of organization success. Employees and management alike, need to understand and emanate the strategy to ensure it is successful and to feel that their purpose/contribution can and does make a difference. It has been identified that companies who invest in a business strategy are more successful than those that don’t. “The fundamental problem of all business enterprises operating in the modern environment is a problem of its survival and maintenance of a sustainable strategic development. An effective solution to this problem lies in the creation and realization of competitive positions that can largely be achieved through a properly designed business growth strategy. The strategy is an objective basis to give the answers to such important questions: in what industry or what market should operate a business enterprise; how to divide limited resources effectively; how to compete”. (Isakson). Development and execution of strategic planning is paramount to the success of any business. Employees need to feel connected and part of the strategy so they too are focused on the goals of the organization. CEO and Director David Friesema notes “As we enter the final months of 2018, we are confident that we are well-positioned to grow our share in both the mattress and accessory categories, generate strong free cash flow and achieve our key initiatives, … We revised our guidance last quarter to opening 17 new stores, including four mall stores; to date, 13 new stores have been opened and there will be seven mall stores opened by the end of the calendar year. We are maintaining our future guidance of opening eight to 12 stores per year beginning in 2019. Renovating stores to fit our enhanced design also continues to be a priority. In the fourth quarter we plan to renovate a further 10 stores bringing the full year renovation count to 29.” (News Wire)
Friesema continued, “As we enhance our ability to offer our customers comprehensive sleep solutions we will continued to expand merchandising opportunities in our accessory and bedding segments. By defining the strategy and working toward the end result, Sleep Country management and employees are positioned to achieve the necessary goals for success.
Why Strategy is Necessary
The CEO/president has done an amazing job in articulating the decimation of information to staff throughout the company. Each person understand the importance in outcomes in how their results impact the organization; to create an organization where everyone knows the impact of their and act accordingly. Any company that can create a value proposition that connects employees to its vison statement, has motivated a team that serves the needs of their customer, positives a stimulation work experience and as the connection increases, so the does organization profitablility. At the end of the day, a corporations ‘work force wants to make money. Inspiring employees through a vision of their development, their needs, their intrinsic value, is a winning strategy. Being in an industry that is highly competitive, Sleep Country relies on their brand and mantra ‘why buy a mattress anywhere else’. They recognize the risks associated with the mattress industry; selling a blind item requires product knowledge, customer service skills, and active listening. Damage to the company’s reputation, labour relations, industry risk and economic sensitivity are other risk factors Sleep County has considered as is prepared accordingly. Done correctly, this contributes to the business growth strategy and effective operations.
The Absence of Strategy and its Consequences
There are many organizations that do not follow a cohesive plan. The results are obvious – they cannot remain competitive and some fail. “Any key business relationship can be improved when structured insights bring focus and effective execution influence influences results”. (Isakson). Any successful formula starts with insight and communication. This is key to staff involvement, and ultimately organizational success.
I worked for a mattress manufacturer/retailer for 12 years. It was a family owned and operated business founded in 1961. When the economy turned in 2008 management didn’t have a clear strategy to combat shrinking sales. The direction provided was for staff to get the sale at whatever cost. This resulted in sales staff discounting off the regular and sales pricing to get the customer to purchase. Not only was volume declining but the margins were eroding as well. After a year of this strategy, the company filed for bankruptcy. The company would have benefited with a Board of Directors holding management accountable and assisting in developing a strategic plan.
Corporate Governance Deliverables
Legal compliance, ethical behaviour, and regulatory compliance are the cornerstones to any company with merit. Not only is it lawful but necessary to ensure safety in and for the company. Outside of the regular checks and balances, Sleep Country President David Friesema holds a public conference call answering questions for analysts and investors. They also provide quarterly and yearly accounting reports, publically. A Prospectus is circulated yearly to all employees and posted online, describing their growth strategy, sales volumes, profits, etc. and forward looking estimated sales. IFRS Measures, retail industry metrics, stock exchange, and industry overview are included in the report, along with legal and regulatory compliances, showing how well or poorly the company fared. Having compliances and managing in accordance, reduces the risk for the company violating the law, which can be costly.
Sleep Country has existed for just over 20 years and is presently the largest and most successful mattress company in Canada. However, fluctuations in customer traffic and a downturn in the economy can cause the company to falter. Sleep Country appears financially sound and compliant with laws and regulations that are applicable. Their future strategic plan provides a vision of continued success and growth.
- Isakson, Michael (2013) What Drives Growth. Retrieved from: https://www.franchise.org/what-drives-growth-0
- News Wire (2018) Sleep Country Announces 21st Consecutive Quarters of Sales Growth Retrieved from: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/sleep-country-canada-announces-21st-consecutive-quarter-of-sales-growth-699330541.html
- Sleep Country Prospectus (2018) Retrieved from: http://s2.q4cdn.com/073941997/files/doc_financials/doc_osc_filings/Amendment-to-(or-amended)-preliminary-long-form-prospectus.pdf
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