Marks and Spencer Enters China
(11 pages of text)
Marks and Spencer (M&S) had first ventured into international markets 70 years ago. By 2012, M&S had 337 stores in 41 countries. Although M&S saw itself as a U.K. retailer that exported its products, the company had been attempting to reduce its dependency on the U.K. economic cycle. Its goal was to increase international sales from £800 million to £1.0 billion by 2013/14. By 2020, M&S wanted to be an international, multi-channel retailer.
When the company entered the Chinese market in 2008, it faced many difficulties. It had failed to conduct proper market research to understand the Chinese consumer, which had led to many issues. The company had neglected to address the cultural gaps between the United Kingdom and China. It had also taken an approach of standardizing its products, instead of adapting products to the new market. Students must consider the marketing mix policies of product, price, placement and promotion to recommend changes to M&S’s entry into China.
This case illustrates the importance of understanding differences between countries when expanding internationally and the need to accommodate those differences by appropriately adapting the marketing mix policies used. This case is appropriate for use in courses on international marketing, strategic marketing, international business and brand management.
The case has the following specific objectives:
To introduce students to the evaluation of international markets using various models and tools.
- To enable students to develop multidisciplinary decision-making skills.
- To encourage students to apply complex concepts to a business example.
- To have students explore and develop marketing mix policies.
- To inspire students to conceptualize qualitative data.
- To permit students to develop solutions to address distances between countries, particularly cultural distances.
China, Large, 2012
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