WH Smith is one the biggest book retailers in

WH Smith is one the biggest book retail merchants in the UK nevertheless it has suffered from a ?135m loss in 2004 compared with net incomes of ?52m in 2003, ( Music Gross saless Play a Key Part in Smith ‘s New Strategy, 2004 ) . Therefore an analysis of WH Smith needs to be concerned with understanding the forces including both external and internal 1s which influence its public presentation, particularly in visible radiation of its recent hapless public presentation and suggest strategic steps which could be taken to rectify this state of affairs.

Harmonizing to Johnson and Scholes ( 2002 ) the external environment for a corporate entity can be divided into the macro environment which can be analysed through the usage of the PESTEL theoretical account and the micro environmental context for the administration which is defined as the industry forces which influence the specified company. In regard of this so Porter’s five forces model is utile in sing the chief external forces that have had impacts on the public presentation of WH Smith both in a negative and positive sense. First of all the cardinal tendencies happening in relation to book retailing and retail merchants by and large can be seen from socio-cultural, economic, technological and legal positions. The most of import tendency to day of the month refering book retail merchants has been the development of the Internet which has shaped consumer buying behaviors in assorted ways in peculiar in the mode and agencies in which they purchase books. Due to the development of these technological inventions the usage of the Internet has increased quickly and harmonizing to a study carried out by the Synergistic Media in Retail Group ( IMRG ) half of the entire 24.5 million families connected pay ?230 yearly to link to the web which demonstrates a big fiscal committedness to the web and a big coverage of cyberspace users demographically across the UK, ( Imrg.org, 2004 ) .

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In add-on the UK authorities has strongly advocated the development of a ‘legal and financial environment’ to ease itself to be the best topographic point in the universe to carry on e-commerce by 2002 in legion policy statements and regulative enterprises, ( Galliers & A ; Wiggins, 2002 ) . Such motions and dictums can besides be put into the context of much broader European tendencies towards a more affiliated and IT-orientated EU station Lisbon acme. Numerous studies and research has indicated that consumer credence of e-shopping in the UK is much higher than in many other European states and consequences of such research has predicted that on-line consumer disbursement in the UK will lift from US $ 2.6 billion in 2000 to US $ 30 billion by 2005, ( Forrester Research, 2000 ) . From this position so the development of the Internet can be seen as a chief and critical chance for book retail merchants such as WH Smith. This is because it is has been suggested in the research that books are the first retail class to which customer’s attending in footings of cyberspace shopping turns to. Indeed possibly the Internet’ greatest success narrative has been the rise and outgrowth of Amazon.com which has built its concern on the sale of books. Indeed the presence of Amazon.com globally can be seen as one of the chief menaces for book retail merchants nationally.

Additionally the increasing degree of instruction to be found among consumers demographically contributes to book retail merchant WH Smith in footings of the chance it presents of developing an cyberspace based book retailing theoretical account to fit both consumer demands for books and their penchants in footings of a manner of shopping which meshes with their life styles. It has as such so been argued that current consumers require quicker and more effectual responses to their demands due to these altering life styles and hence it is critical to be cognizant of the increasing power of consumers in the retailing industry and in peculiar the book retailing industry. However WH Smith it can be strongly argued has failed to run into this challenge efficaciously which has turned into being a major failing for the company. This failing is in peculiar reflected in their off-the-rack design of their web site that does non suit with the trade name image exemplifying serious mismatches between expressed wants to utilize the Internet efficaciously and the execution of such wants in world. Thus authorities support and legal development in modulating new e-retailing signifiers while apparently aimed at giving chances to both companies and consumers has at the same clip created menaces to WH Smith due to their inability to gain from such developments. Retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes & A ; Noble have invested immense sums of money in bettering their security and privateness public presentation in footings of e-shopping and run successfully by offering lower monetary value and time-flexible merchandises that respond dynamically to the new demands of e-aware consumers, ( Kaarst-Brown & A ; Evaristo, 2004 ) .

Furthermore competition has besides come from supermarkets such as ASDA and TESCO and specializers like HMV in footings of amusement merchandise ranges and GAME in the computing machine game retailing market. Therefore intense competition is another cardinal menace to the endurance of WHS both specialist retail merchants and new general retail merchants further diversifying their merchandise ranges. It is of import besides to advert another major tendency that has had a important impact on the book retailing industry which can be defined as the continued growing and outgrowth of a planetary economic system that provides new planetary markets for the enlargement of Smith. However harmonizing to Pitcher ( 2004 ) the US involvements acquired by Smiths as portion of its enlargement programs have been disposed of at a cost of ?61m to the retail merchant due to their failure to perforate the US market efficaciously. In footings of overall scheme so WH Smith’s appears from these indexs to hold serious jobs in reacting to new societal, cultural and economic tendencies in the successful behavior of its concern.

A full apprehension of WH Smith’s public presentation nevertheless needs to be analysed from both the concern environment and besides refering its strategic capablenesss that are the most likely to hold an impact on the development of scheme in a successful sense. It is apparent that the failure of its yesteryear schemes has had the consequence of turning corporate failings in footings of continued hapless public presentation of its concern units and their continued low degrees of efficiency in operating in their markets. The direction squad late boldly decided to use a variegation scheme which was accompanied by the slogan ‘more of what you truly want’ , ( Smith, 2004 ) . However as we illustrated above what consumers seem to truly desire as evidenced by the research has non been met by the proviso of the retailer’s scheme. Its variegation scheme it would look has non been plenty of a extremist alteration, a alteration which it can be argued is necessary for the retail merchant to accommodate to the massively altered retail context and environment in which it finds itself today. The failure of this variegation scheme can be clearly seen in the big losingss racked up by the retail merchant following the debut of the scheme. Continued weak trading up until last Christmas and the inability of the retailer’s direction squad to offer responses and strategic options for the company raises serious inquiries about the efficaciousness so of the current direction squad.

Such direction mistakes can be seen for illustration to boot in the deficiency of corporate web site development which can be contended to hold damaged the trade name image among consumers turning to the Internet for their book retailing demands. As such so it is critical that as a traditional book retail merchant the acknowledgment is made that trade name name is a cardinal success factor for Smith in viing in book retailing industry successfully both at the present clip and in the hereafter. Wilkinson ( 2004 ) argues that WH Smith and the image of the trade name and the images associated with that trade name are 1s which suggest an out of day of the month retail proposition uncovering a deep seated and rooted failure of direction of the trade name name successfully. In other words it can be suggested that the trade name image and its deficiency of modernization reflects the more general concerns of Smiths non accommodating to new tendencies.

In visible radiation of these unfavorable judgments and weaknesses nevertheless it can be stated that although WHS has failed to run into these new challenges in assorted ways the relationship which it has with providers and publishing houses can be a strength for the company if developed and used successfully in new schemes for success within the market. For illustration an of import consideration to retrieve is that publishing houses have been supportive of the strategic alterations in the WHS books squad and expression set to co-operate and be a portion in any farther alterations initiated and begun by the retail merchant in response to the force per unit areas it faces, ( Fraser, 2004 ) . However these positive relationships need to be balanced by negative 1s, such as the challenges in fiscal matters to be faced by the company in footings of the proviso and direction of its pension financess for employees. This challenge will no uncertainty besides be replicated and be an issue of farther concern for the stockholders in the company as the financial troubles of this become more evident and more a load of the fiscal public presentation of the retail merchant in the hereafter.

The four chief classs of retail operations for WHS are books, amusement division, letter paper and its intelligence division. Figures have revealed that the DVD gross revenues for the company jumped up 20 per centum which can be defined as a hard currency cow sector for the retail merchant harmonizing to Boston’s theoretical account, ( Bradley, 2003 ) . However both the music section of the company and its multimedia merchandises both dropped in footings of gross revenues figures rather quickly therefore it appears that these sections should be cut down or Smiths should go out this market due to the intense competition in peculiar from specialist suppliers and the low competitory capableness which now exists in these markets. In this sense so in a strategic sense the burden is on Ian smiths to concentrate on those parts of its concern which are executing good and to travel off from what might be considered traditional sections of its operations even if such moves might be controversial. Whether the retail merchant has the necessary will to prosecute in such extremist alterations is nevertheless a major inquiry for the company, its stockholders and clients.

Similarly and arguable the cardinal issue for the company remains the enormous development of the Internet and associated engineerings and the outgrowth of houses such as Amazon.com in response to turning consumer demand for this new method of retailing. Book retail merchants in general and non merely WH Smith have struggled with the determination of when and how to follow an Internet presence and others have been more successful than others. WH Smith’s in specific has non been a success in come ining the online market successfully and the more this signifier of retailing emerges and develops the more this failing will turn in footings of suppressing the good and healthy public presentation of the company. Smiths response at present to the Internet has it can be argued be one of hesitance and confusion and one which shows a deficiency of committedness in footings of resources towards developing a important online presence for the company. Such a failure is every bit mentioned a concern in legion ways for the company.

The stigmatization scheme of Smiths will be one of the operational determiners for the success or failure of Smith’s in prosecuting the development of an on-line presence. Smith’s therefore needs to light the traditional strengths of its trade name image but permute them to a successful e-retailing theoretical account hence uniting the traditional strengths of the company’s trade name image with the modern penchants of the consumer. Therefore e-retailing could practicably be developed as a star division for Smith if these duplicate elements can be combined into a successful strategic policy perpetrating the company to online retailing. In add-on the chief clients for WH Smith are in-between category therefore a focussed distinction scheme would besides be utile in recovering its competency both online and offline. Based on the analysis of the chief retail divisions the focal point of WHS should be to concentrate on their nucleus concern, book retailing and stationary subdivisions. The hard currency bring forthing DVD subdivision should be supported and expanded through cutting the hapless public presentation divisions such as music and this could be a successful on-line venture for the company. Finally as mentioned above the development of a new cohesive and modern trade name scheme and image for the company will be an built-in component for present and future success of the retail merchant, online.


The Growth Share Matrix ( BCG Box )

Market Share








( E-retailing merchandise lines )

Cash Cow

( DVD division )



( Books and Stationary divisions )


( Music and Multimedia merchandises )

This tabular array illustrates core competences for the company and success or failure factors for market growing for the company harmonizing to divisions in its retailing operations upon which future schemes could be based.


Forrester Research ( 2000 )UK Online Retail: From Minority to Mainstream, May, London.

Fraser, F. ( 2004 )Russell Succeeds Kibble at WHS, Bookseller, October Issue 5148.

Galliers, B. & A ; Wiggins, A. ( 2002 ) Internet Retailing in the United Kingdom, in Eliiot, S. ( erectile dysfunction )Electronic Commerce: B2C Strategies and Models, John Wiley & A ; Sons, UK.

Imrg.org ( 2004 )High Street Brands DonTs Take Etailing Seriously, New Media Age, October 14.

Johnson, G. & A ; Scholes, K. ( 2002 )Researching Corporate Scheme: Text and Cases 6Thursdayedition, FT Prentice Hall, UK.

Kaarst-Brown, M. L. & A ; Evaristo, R. J. ( 2004 )Perceived Menaces and Opportunities: A Preliminary Model of the Book Retailer Internet Presence Decision, Journal of Organizational Computing & A ; Electronic Commerce, Vol. 14 Issue 4.

Music Gross saless Play a Key Part in Smith ‘s New Strategy( 2004 ) Music Week, Oct.23.

Pitcher, G. ( 2004 )Three Heads Who Face a Monster Retail Challenge, Marketing Week ( UK ) , Vol. 27 Issue 42.

Smith, S. ( 2004 )Too Little, Too Late for Fallen Giants, Marketing Week ( UK ) , Vol. 27 Issue 43.

Wilkinson, A. ( 2004 )Dayss Numbered for Retail Giants, Marketing Week ( UK ) , October 14, Vol. 27 Issue 42.

Bradley, F. ( 2003 )Strategic Selling: in the Customer Driven Organization, John Wiley & A ; Sons Ltd, UK

To investigate the effects of different concentrations<< >>Robin Smith

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