Welcome to the the Ivey HBA Retail Marketing Management blog. Retail marketing is an exciting, dynamic, important, and very visible aspect of the overall field of marketing. Throughout the year, students will be posting comments regarding contemporary retailing issues. Although this is intended to be used by Bus 4411 students, industry marketing professionals are also invited to join in if they like.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

supermarket fashion

It seems that economic downturn can never get in the way of fashion. Industry observers forecast that the online fashion sector will grow to 13 per cent of the total clothing market and be worth £6bn by 2016. In spite of the downturn, online fashion retailer Asos has demonstrated the validity of forecast by recorded soaring sales. {1}While luxury brands such as Chanel have been suffering from the huge fall in their sales, supermarket giants are looking for their way to capture that loss.

After Wal-Mart showcased its new fashion brands in major fashion event- Fashion on the square 2008 in San Francisco {2}, the UK’s largest retailer Tesco announced at the end of January 2009 its brand new online own labeled fashion project, which is being spearheaded by clothing boss Terry Green and will look different to the retailer’s existing Tesco.com website.

How does proud fashion fit in low price driven supermarkets? Wal-Mart tried the traditional fashion way by launching a higher-priced range with promotion at New York Fashion week and 116-page feature in Vogue, which turned out to be unsuccessful {2}. While Tesco is trying to manipulate RVP with a new tool- online shopping, offering a broad range of selection, the convenience of shopping at home, and low price. Will customers buy the idea? Cheap fashion is not new to sophisticated consumers; brands like H&M, ZARA have been there for decades, what’s Tesco’s key leverage to compete with them? In my opinion, what Tesco is doing is by constructing a separate website and putting the fashion brands only available online, it tries to avoid the perception of buying fashion in supermarkets, which could be perceived as embarrassing by those consumers who can never buy fashion in supermarkets but can not afford to buy high priced items or not any more. By purchasing online at a non Tesco supermarket website, it feels nothing like buying fashion in supermarkets whiles the benefiting from low price. Moreover, different from the impression that average consumer have in mind, which is that in the fashion section in supermarkets, you can only have limited range of practical items, Tesco is offering a much broader range, adding value to the selection part of the new combination of RVP. Will Tesco’s effort appeal to its target segment? The result is soon to come.


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