Understanding the Market

Understanding the Market

In your role as a district merchandiser working for a large-chain retailer in the women’s fashions department or the men’s clothing department, one of your job responsibilities would be to help decide the merchandise assortment plan and ensure that your retailer offers merchandise that your target audience is tempted to buy. Deciding what merchandise to stock in the store requires considering the competition in the market, prevalent trends, customer choices, any local events or organizations, and so on. For the final project, each week, you’ll perform tasks that will help you make correct decisions regarding the merchandising and devising strategy for the merchandise a retailer offers.


As an exercise in identifying these elements in the marketplace, visit a local large-chain retailer’s store (The Gap and Old Navy are excluded) near you, as well as its website and provide an analysis of the following:

  • Retail Mission: What is the actual mission statement of the retailer? Give your brief understanding of the same.
  • Centralized/Decentralized: Is the buying office centralized or decentralized? Explain at least two advantages and two disadvantages of a centralized operation. Explain at least two advantages and two disadvantages of a decentralized operation.
  • Origin: Why did this retailer/brand come into existence? What was the then “current world” like when this retailer was “born”? List at least five events that occurred during the first year of its operation. How has the retailer evolved, and what is its current situation in regard to sales, profits, and popularity?
  • Stores and Locations: How many individual stores does this retailer have? In which countries do they operate?
  • Customer Profile (Nationally): Who is the “target customer” for the retailer? Which income group or strata of society does the target customer belong to? What is the average age group of the ideal customer? Include demographics, psychographics, lifestyle, geographic, and behavioral components of the target customer. Is the customer profile of customers who shop in the local store different from the national profile?
  • Competitive Profile: Who is this retailer’s primary competitor(s) for the stores at the national level? Why? Who is this retailer’s primary competitor at the local level? Why?
  • What types of merchandise does the retailer currently have on hand? Are there any items that could be termed as local (which you would not find in the same retailer’s store in another state)?

Include your 400- to 600-word response in a Microsoft Word document. Cite the websites, journals, trade magazines, or other sources used to obtain data or relevant information. Remember to use the correct MLA format to cite references. Make sure to use correct spelling and grammar and concise word choices.


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