Ivey Publishing
Askew's Foods versus Wal-Mart: Sustainable versus Low-Cost
Product Number:
Publication Date:
Revised Date:
07/18/2017 (Format Change)
11 pages (10 pages of text)
Product Type:
Case (Field)
A family-owned grocery business, Askew’s Foods Inc. (Askew’s), had to decide how to handle the threat of a Wal-Mart Superstore, which included a grocery department, coming into its market area. Before the news of Wal-Mart’s potential arrival, Askew’s had already purchased a site on which to build a second store in the city’s uptown area, and the board needed to approve the design for the new building. Askew’s had a long-standing tradition of being an environmentally sensitive, socially responsible, and community-minded retailer, and the board wanted to uphold those corporate values in the design and operation of the new Askew’s store; however, the pending arrival of this low-cost competitor had to be considered in the decision. Was it fiscally responsible for Askew’s to stay true to its principles and build a state-of-the-art, sustainable grocery store, or, given the new threat to its market share and profitability, as well as limited funding from its bank, should it opt for the more conservative and less expensive standard box option? Was cost the only consideration?
Learning Objective:
This case is suitable for use in courses on family business, strategy, sustainability, or marketing for undergrads or MBAs. It is also a good capstone case for a general business course since there are a number of teaching dimensions that can be explored, including the following:
  • Weighing options when dealing with a contentious challenge, threat, or opportunity
  • Exploring options for how a business can refine, entrench, or redefine its vision in the face of new competition
  • Understanding the influence of leadership in defining a corporation's position on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and general strategy
  • Discovering the relative merits, strengths, and weaknesses of the no-frills, low-cost Wal-Mart model versus the upscale, socially and environmentally responsible retailers
General Management/Strategy
Retail Trade
Canada, Medium, 2011
Intended Audience:
$4.25 CAD / $4.25 USD Printed Copy
$3.75 CAD / $3.75 USD Permissions
$3.75 CAD / $3.75 USD Digital Download
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