M&S Foods Events And Trends


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Introduction

To look into the main events and trends from the marketing environment, which are likely to impact the market over the next few years I am going to do various analysis. I am going to research the macro and microenvironments. A STEP analysis will be conducted to look at the macro environment, which includes social-cultural, technological, economical and political factors. For the microenvironment factors competitors, suppliers, customers and stakeholders will be looked at. A SWOT analysis will then be carried out. Strengths and Weaknesses will look at the internal issues and the Opportunities and Threats will look at the external issues. Then I will be looking at the strategic options available for the business.

I have chosen to look at the food department of Marks and Spencer, more commonly known as M&S Food. According to wikipedia, M&S has over 400 stores in the UK and 192 stores managed internationally (www.wikipedia.org). M&S was established in the late 1800s but the food department was non-existent until 1931. M&S focus on selling mainly food and clothing but they are always growing. The most recent addition to their stores is the technology department. In 2001 M&S started opening Simply Food stores (www.marksandspencer.com)

Macro Environment

According to an online article there is a rise in dual incomes. (Jane Musoke-Nteyafas, 2006) This means that couples will have more disposable income to spend on luxury items such as M&S food. A Mintel Report shows that people think that if you pay a lower price you get a lower quality (Mintel, March 2006). M&S prices are higher than most supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda therefore classified as a luxury product.

Peoples lifestyles are getting busier, but some people love being busy (Mintel, September 2006). This is why M&S have created many different types of stores to fit in with their lifestyles. For customers who use M&S for their weekly food shop there are out of town stores, which they provide a car park and it's easy for them to get to. There are also Simply food stores with car parks. For the busier customers there are smaller M&S shops in service stations and train stations, where they can just pick up a lunch or a quick snack. (www.Marksandspencer.com) Technology has allowed M&S to put scan it yourself tills in most stores. This is where it's much quicker for you to scan your own item and pay for it, than to go to a till and get a cashier to do it for you.

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The UK has a large number of people with credit cards and there is a huge increase in debt. (Mintel, August 2000) People borrow money off credit card companies and buy themselves luxuries and tell themselves they will pay it off. Interest rates also affect how they think. If the interest rates are low they are more likely to use their credit card to buy themselves luxury products.

The government are really trying to get people to cut out salt in their diet. They have been advertising a campaign to make people aware that too much salt is not good for you. (www.bbc.com.uk, 2004). M&S have been trying to reduce the salt intake in their food since 1999. They have removed a huge percentage of salt in most of their products. Also to make it easier for you to see how much salt is in the food you are consuming its clear labelled on each packet. (www.Marksandspencer.com)

Mintel report tells us that "Awareness of the relationship between diet and health is at an all-time high"(Mintel, August 2006) Women more than men are sometimes obsessed with the food they consume. They are also influenced by celebrities. People assume all fast foods and ready meals are unhealthy. M&S have tried to make their ready meals as healthy as possible by removing additives and preservatives from their foods and reducing salt and hydrogenated fats. They have also banned genetically modified foods, Tartrazine and Mono Sodium Glutamate. (www.marksandspencer.com) They also have their fair-trade range, as people are aware of companies exploiting workers in poorer countries.

The government are also trying to get people to recycle more. They've placed advertisements on television, school children are learning about it and most housing estates get a green box where they can put all their recyclable waste such as tins, cans and bottles. People are made aware of the situation. M&S are teamed up with the government to help recycling work. They use 1,500 tonnes of recycled plastic in some of their packaging and all most of their packaging is recyclable. (www.marksandspencer.com)

Microenvironment

M&S has many competitors, Tescos, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose and many more. If one supermarket changes something in their products, its most likely their competitors will too. Tescos, Asdas and M&S all clearly label their food to show salt content and fat content. They are clearly in competition with each other. While Asda is not seen as a luxury product it is one of M&S major competitors. Tescos has their Tesco finest brand, which is seen as a luxury product therefore is in direct competition with M&S Food. All supermarkets are cutting out salt and clearly labelling their packages. (BBC, 2000)

M&S has about 67,000 employees, which they have a range of all different ages and ethnic backgrounds. Communication is important in a business but when you have a business as large as M&S it is hard to communicate with everyone. That is why they've created a Business Involvement Group (BIG) in every store or office area. (www.marksandspencer.com) This allows everyone to communicate as much as possible and to share views and ideas. M&S has a good culture in their business where their employees are happy to work for them. The time they work is flexible to suit those with families or busier people.

Customers are important to every business, as this is where the final product or service is going. Over 15 million people visit M&S stores every week (www.marksandspencer.com) If M&S want to keep their customers coming they have to communicate with customers to see what they want from their stores and how they like it. If M&S know that customers want good quality food with less salt, they will provide it. They take account of all their customers, as all their stores have disability facilities and their food is clearly labelled with allergy advice. They also have a count on us range for the customers who like to count their calories. They take care of their customers, which keep them going back for more. Customers have told M&S that meeting customer needs, being a good employer, being fair to suppliers and workforces, selling responsible products and operating in a considerate manner is important. (www.marksandspencer.com) M&S listen to their customers, which is why they have so many loyal customers.

M&S have many suppliers and all of them are socially responsible. On their website it tells us "We work with our suppliers and selected animal welfare groups to improve standards within our quality management systems" (www.marksandspencer.com) They care for the environment and animals. The fair trade company supplies all their tea and coffee.

Pressure groups have a huge impact on M&S. There are many campaigners that try to stop bad ethics in a business. Luckily M&S don't have much to worry about this. They are always socially responsible and try to help many charities throughout their sales. They've helped many charities including Breast Cancer Awareness, Shelter and NSPCC.


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