Critical Comparison Of Operation Strategies Of Marks And Spencer And Primark Sample

Explore the operational strategies of Marks & Spencer and Primark, their impact on competitiveness, sustainability, and digital transformation.

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Introduction Of The Operational Strategies Are Expected To Be Implemented Such As Supply Chain, Product Management, Inventory Management Assignment

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Operational strategies that are seen to be implemented by companies such as Primark and Marks and Spencer can be illustrated as the systems they implement with the intention of achieving long-term goals and missions. Based on multiple internal and external factors, operational strategies are expected to be implemented such as supply chain, product management, inventory management, quality of products, scheduling, forecasting, facilities planning and management (Wen et al., 2019). The operational strategy may be an integral part of the discussed businesses business or corporate strategy as a suitable implementation of this is crucial to achieving competitiveness and sustainability in the enhancement of business procedures (Eby, 2021). The study aims to critically compare the systems that are applied by M&S and Primark to achieve long-term goals that are competitive and sustainable. Critical comparison will be enhanced throughout the study by exploring various aspects of the business operations of those organisations and the way those affect the organisation in terms of competitiveness and sustainability.


A critical comparison of the operational strategies of M&S and Primark can be done by analysing their business models first. The business models of companies from the retail sector that are M&S and Primark can be analysed using business model canvas as a suitable framework. As opined by Sparviero (2019), a business model canvas is a visual representation of a business model that consists of highlighted key strategic factors that influence the business. The utilisation of the framework for analysing the business models of the mentioned companies is as follows:

Key Partners An array of factories that provide Marks and Spencer with home and clothing products are the key partners of the business. In the Uk, the company sources those products from 17 suppliers (, 2022). Similarly, factories that supply clothing and accessories to Primark are the key partners of the business. In the UK, 14 factories supply the mentioned products to the company (, 2022). Key Activities Marks and Spencer has been focused on developing a personalisation strategy with an intention of creating a higher level of customer engagement across all digital channels that they use (Samuels, 2022). On the other hand, by keeping purchasing, store design, stock management and others according to the needs and diseases of the customers, Primark delivers a unique value proposition (Kraaijenbrink). Value Propositions Through the execution of a suitable personalisation strategy, a higher level of customer engagement is sought by M&S so that customers can be served with quality, affordability and efficient service (Samuels, 2022). By providing quality of clothing and accessories at affordable prices, the organisation Primark delivers a "kid-in-the-candy-store feeling, the Oh-My-God-I-can-buy-all-of-this-and-still-have-money-left" experience to the customers (Kraaijenbrink, 2022). Customer Relationships Through the implementation of a digital marketing strategy using social media and other technological platforms such as business websites, both organisations communicate with the customers and maintain customer relationships in the market. However, social media is used by M&S to promote the organisational offerings through the creation of multimedia photos, videos and others (, 2022). On the other hand, while using social media, Primark invests in creating social buzz instead of product promotion. In other words, by using social media the company is focused on enhancing communication about the brand and offerings among the customers by customers on their own (Murphy, 2015). Customer Segments With a major move into live shopping, Marks and Spencer target youths to deliver value propositions (Taylor, 2022). On the other hand, by offering trendy products within a budget constraint, Primark aims to deliver value propositions to people aged between 16 and 30 (, 2022).
Key Resources As it has been found that value for money, quality and service are the philosophy behind the success of M&S, therefore, it can be assumed that access to low-cost suppliers with quality offerings and organisational human resources are the necessary business resources for the company to deliver value propositions (, 2022). To achieve competitiveness and sustainability at the same time, a low-cost supply of clothes using recycled materials, measures to reduce carbon emissions and an adequate amount of human resources have been the necessary business resources for Primark (, 2022). Channels Television and mobile advertisements, print media and different types of social media campaigns are the marketing channels that are used by M&S to deliver value propositions to customers (, 2022). On the other hand, Primark is focused on fostering word-of-mouth marketing to deliver customer value propositions by using social media for creating social buzz.
Cost structure A consistent investment is enhanced by M&S to improve the quality of organisation offerings. On the other hand, getting access to low-cost suppliers and enhancing word-of-mouth marketing by commissioning existing customers for sales are the major business areas of Primark that drive costs (, 2022). Revenue stream By offering quality clothing, home appliances and beauty products at premium costs, revenue is generated by M&S. On the other hand, to generate increasing revenue through increasing sales, Primark is focused on making its offerings increasingly affordable for customers.

As already mentioned that quality, service and affordability are the core business values of M&S, therefore, these can be considered as the key drivers for competitive advantages of the business from more sustainable business operations. Considering the key drivers for gaining competitive advantages, M&S has positioned itself uniquely to work in partnership with a range of trusted suppliers in the market with an intention of fostering innovation so that new and improved ways of accomplishing business-related tasks can be generated. While working with those suppliers, the organisation is being collaborative to make choices to reduce carbon emissions and waste, source materials more responsibly and avoid animal harm (, 2022). By acquiring other brands, the organisation is also focused on establishing its own brand production. As an example, it has invested in Nobody's Child and taken a 25% stake in the business so that clothing can be produced using sustainable fabrics, which can be sourced at affordable costs (Rigby, 2021). On other hand, by offering a wide range of products at lower costs compared to the competitors in the market, Primark intends to appraise competitive advantages in the market. The organisation always makes bulk purchases from its supplies for the business stores, so that money for purchasing from suppliers can be saved and customers can be offered at lower costs. To save costs, the organisation is involved in very little advertising and designing clothes by which the latest trends are offered.

To make the products affordable, expensive raw materials such as expensive hangers, the company does not use labels or tags. To make services increasingly efficient the organisation also asks its third-party suppliers to deliver ready products to them so that they can serve customers quickly with minimal processing (, 2022). These are the ways Primark remains sustainable and appraises competitive advantages in the market.

The agenda of 2030 for sustainable development goals can be described as a set of international development goals that have been planned to be achieved from 2016 to 2030 and have been adopted by the UN Sustainable Development Summit. Through the adoption of this set of international goals, a global footprint for pace, dignity and prosperity for individuals and the globe currently and in the future has been provided by the United Nations (, 2022). The operational strategies that are applied by M&S and Primark have a significant connection to some sustainable development goals. As an example, by acquiring new brands, M&S is fostering the achievement of SGD 17 which is strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development. By fostering innovation while working with partners, SDG 13, which is taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, is also trying to be achieved by the organisation (, 2022). The factor is that making decisions regarding the way the carbon footprint of the business can be reduced is a significant agenda of the business behind working with partners in the market. It can be assumed that by fostering innovation, the achievement of SDG 12 that is ensuring sustainable consumption and production pattern is also being fostered by the organisation. The factor is that by fostering innovation the organisation is trying to generate newer ways of production of organisational offerings while reducing its carbon footprint at the same time (, 2022, 2022).

On the other hand, the strategy of Primark to offer customers products at affordable prices to gain competitive advantages corresponds to SDG 3, which is ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone of all ages. The factor is that, by making the prices of the organisational offerings lower, the organisation makes the products affordable for customers from all financial categories (Aysan et al., 2021). Thus, the well-being of people is promoted by the organisation.

Business transformation can be described as a managerial term that refers to the changes in the way organisations such as M&S and Primark operate. As opined by Nwaiwu (2018), organisational transformation in such organisations may include changes in organisational employees, technologies used and processes. Business transformation has become integral for such business organisations to keep up with the latest technological trends, improve efficiency in business operations and expand business operations in newer markets (, 2022). As a part of organisational transformation, Marks and Spencer has been focused on the implementation of an omnichannel strategy. As indicated by Hole et al. (2019), omnichannel strategy refers to the concept of integrating every organisational touchpoint. In the implementation of this strategy, by observing more sales of clothing and home appliances online, the organisation has initiated a reduction of store spaces by closing a wide range of stores globally. As of now, around 60 stores have been closed by the organisation globally (Rigby, 2022). After reporting a 75% rise in international eCommerce sales throughout the pandemic of Covid-19, M&S has also been focused on developing digital-led eCommerce business processes. As a result of such an organisation-wide transformation, a profit after tax of £522.9 million has also been achieved by the organisation in 2021(Jefferson, 2022).

On other hand, Primark has moved into transforming the traditional in-store business procedures into digitised business procedures. Primark has unveiled the latest stage of the organisational digital strategy through the launch of its website for the UK. The website has been designed in a way that it is connecting the journey between searching for the products online and then purchasing those by visiting stores for the customers effectively. The launch of the website has also been initiated with an intention of enhancing effective digital marketing. Getting positive results, the organisation also has plans to enhance the use of the website in 13 more nations globally (MacRae, 2022).

The above-discussed facts about operational strategies of M&S and Primark indicate that both of the organisations have been on the digital transformation of the business processes by integrating multiple areas of business operations digitally and marketing and generating sales of the organisational offerings online. In other words, both organisations have been involved in integrating digital technologies into various operational areas of business and fundamentally changing the way they operate and deliver value propositions to customers (, 2016). Therefore, to explore the way the organisations and the employees over there are affec-ted by the changes, the effects of digital transformation can be discussed. In enhancing the discussed type of change, the operation managers of the discussed businesses could have faced issues with employees' resistance to change.

The factor is that is common when an organisation initiates digital transformation, new changing responsibilities emerge as a significant matter of concern for organisational employees. They are afraid of the fact that they can fail to grasp the digitised working method and be terminated from their employment (Pandab, 2022). In the enhancement of digital transformation of the business process, the operations managers of the discussed businesses could have faced issues in emphasising infrastructure cost for the change in business operational areas. The factor is that to simplify the working of employees while they are involved in a changed way of accomplishing tasks, plenty of digital tools are required to be incorporated which requires costs (Inamdar, 2022). In enhancing digital transformation in a business, it is necessary to ensure that resources that are required to accomplish tasks in a digital working environment are allocated to employees. Making this consistent could have been a significant area of challenge for the operation managers of M&S and Primark.

M&S and Primark can be critically compared by discussing the anticipated results that are supposed to be achieved by them by applying the discussed operational strategies and the way those results can affect the overall performance of the business. By fostering innovation while working with partners, M&S is expected to be benefited from improved quality of products and improved productivity, reduced costs in enhancing business procedures. As an ultimate, the organisation is expe_cted to achieve increased brand recognition in the market and new business partners with strong relationships. All these are expected to affect the business by providing increased competitiveness in the form of increased investment capability that can be acquired through increased turnover and profitability (, 2022). Similarly, the efforts of the business to reduce its carbon footprint can improve the reputation of the business in the market. As opined by Bozhuk et al. (2019). With an improved reputation, increased organisational performance is expected to be achieved by the organisation through increased sales. However, the efforts of fostering innovation can be costly as well as time-consuming. In fact, the operation manager of the business may also face issues with the waste of resources for experimentation (Kempner and Bailey, 2019).

On the other hand, as indicated by Bushe (2019), the efforts of Primark in its operations to produce low-cost offerings are expected to attract customers from all financial categories to purchase products from the brand. However, the low price of the organisational offerings can also negatively affect the business. Due to the low prices of the products, target customers of the business can convey the message that the offerings of the business are not effective in terms of quality and they can search for the availability of similar alternative products in product lines of other retailers (Keefer, 2022).


It can be concluded that suppliers that supply raw materials for the production of goods are the key partners of M&S and Primark. To deliver strong value propositions to customers, M&S has been focused on developing customer experiences with the brand more personalised. On the other hand, by offering customers goods at increasingly affordable prices, Primark is delivering value propositions to the customers. To maintain effective relationships with potential customers in the market, M&S has been involved in improving its digital marketing. On the other hand, word-of-mouth marketing is the key driver that is being used by Primark to maintain effective relationships with the target customers. Youth are the target customers of M&S and Primark’s target customer base includes people aged between 16 and 30. Digital channels such as social media and websites are the channels used by both businesses for branding and other relevant business procedures.

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