FRED PERRY UK’s Retail Fashion Industry - Essay Prowess

FRED PERRY UK’s Retail Fashion Industry

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Introduction to UK’s Retail Fashion Industry

The retail industry includes individuals and businesses that are involved with selling goods and services directly to the end consumer. The industry players involve producers, wholesalers, retailers and, the logistics sector. The sector includes department stores, shops, market stalls, internet retailers, supermarkets and door-to-door sales persons. The retail industry is an important contributor to the UK industry. In 2016, 358 billion sales from the industry were realized. Additionally, it is the largest employer in the private sector with an estimate of 290,315 mortar and bricks retail outlets. The UK fashion retail holds plenty of the opportunities for the residents. Currently, the industry has employed 5.2 million people in the textiles, fashion, and fashion retail (Fernie, Sparks, and McKinnon, 2018). The leading designers in the UK are mostly involved on retail selling of clothing. Additionally, there are designers involved in foot ware, bags and jewelry. This paper is an exploration of Fred Perry, one of the leading fashion companies in the UK, its micro and macro economic variables, as well recommendations for improving performance.

Introduction to the Company

Born in Stockport, Fred Perry is a UK clothing brand that operates retail shops across 50 countries. The company is named after a successful tennis star that won several titles. The player worked on his innovative idea on the UK fashion industry that gave birth to a success company.  Its strong brand coupled with rich heritage earned customer confidence making it one of the top selling fashion houses in the UK.  It launched a successful unique slim fit cotton polo shirt in 1952 that became famous brand in the English clothing house. At its birth, the shirt was only available in white and the company marketed it to tennis players (Blazquez, 2014). The demand for the shirt increased among non-players and the company came up with more colors. Currently, Fred Perry is a renowned brand in the world offering a combination of sportswear, jackets and footwear.

The brand has made associations with diverse British sub-cultures making it an evolving identity that connects sportswear with British heritage, contemporary fashion, and musical heritage. The company has maintained a strong brand value and a steady sense of purpose that constantly reminds customers of quality, timelessness and integrity. The company advertising currently targets sports, music, style and culture.  As fashion trends change, Fred Perry remains an essential part of people’s wardrobes. The brand unites people from all cultures and ages under similar search for appealing and comfortable fashion. With the innovative iconic brands, exceptional identity and strong heritage, Fred Perry has maintained a top market position.

Relevant Changes within the Macro-Environment

The present times pose various challenges for stakeholders in the retail fashion industry, particularly manufacturers. Disruptive events such as Brexit, the recent terrorism incidences in France, and China’s stock market’s volatility continue to have distinct effects on the entire economy. Moreover, internal changes, technological advancements, and shifts in consumer preferences have also considerably affected the operations of the United Kingdom’s fashion industry. Nevertheless, this segment is still one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, while experts have predicted further favorable growth in the coming years. The McKinsey Fashion Index values the entire industry at approximately 300 billion pounds, with an average growth rate of 5.5 percent since 2016. It is responsible for about 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (Halliday, 2018). Retail stores operating in the industry can be classified as either specialized or non-specialized.

PESTLE Analysis

Political Factors

National and international politics generate considerable uncertainties in virtually all economic sectors. Numerous changes have occurred in the UK’s retain fashion industry over the past couple of years, which increase the segments instability. Specifically, reports indicate that geopolitical volatility, Brexit, stalled agreements, and the threat of terror have amplified the perceptions of uncertainty in the economy. More importantly, the domestic economy is heavily influenced international events. Accordingly, the political shifts in the United States and the political instability in the Middle East continue to produce deep effects on the UK’s economy (Scholz and Zentes, 2012).

The present situation in the UK’s economy impacts on Fred Perry’s operations significantly. The company may have benefited from the weakening of the pound against the US dollar and the Euro after Brexit. However, the prevailing uncertainties in both the financial markets and the internal business environment forced the company to adjust its marketing tactics and revise its production targets to account for the expected adverse transactional effect. Further, the country’s land-use planning laws allow the authorities to influence the location of retail stores (Bruce, Daly, and Towers, 2014). Political campaigns and attempts by politicians to control employment practices, protect consumers’ interests, and regulate competition affect Fred Perry’s operations in the country. The company’s management concurs that measures such as the Retail Sector Strategy of 2012 and the recent ‘rip-off-Britain’ compelled the firm to amend its internal processes.

Economic Factors

The UK’s retail fashion industry is dominated by several large multinational firms, a sizeable proportion of which have a foreign origin. As such, domestic firms such as Fred Perry are always under intense competition from established players in the industry. The company, therefore, has to continually improve its product offerings to remain relevant despite being a quintessentially British fashion icon. Additionally, Brexit altered the way the UK conducts business by limiting the country’s access to the European market (Fernie, Sparks, & McKinnon, 2018). As a result, the company’s cost of production has since increased. Given the decreased levels of disposable income due to unemployment and slow economic growth, the organization’s total sales volumes declined slightly. Indeed, the company’s sales fell by two percent in Europe and the UK, and by ten percent globally. This decline represented a four percent reduction in total turnover, from 118 million pounds to 113 million pounds in 2016. Sales volumes fell further in 2017 to 110.8 million pounds. The company was forced to cut other expenses, which resulted in higher profit levels (Halliday, 2018).

Social Factors

Socio-cultural aspects play a central role in the fashion sector as a whole. The proliferation of diverse social shifts over the past decade has influenced the demand for certain fashion items. Specifically, the preferences of the largest market segment by population size, the millennials, are noticeably different from those of the preceding generations. The former are often interested, not just in quality, but also in pocket-friendly prices and convenience. Consumers nowadays have clearly defined shopping trends and inclinations. Consequently, the marketing functions in virtually all organizations have to experiment with new tactics, explore the emerging opportunities, and manage new challenges (Arikan and Stulz, 2016). Fred Perry has encountered the changing socio-cultural dynamics. The company has evidently moved from a sole focus on quality to a multifaceted one that entails aspects of customer attraction and engagement, affordability, accessibility, and expediency. For instance, when the company renovated its Berlin Store in 2016, it included a vintage jukebox where shoppers can select their favorite tracks to enhance their experiences (Psalti, 2016).

Technological Factors

Technology has become an indispensable aspect of the operations of the fashion retail industry. It has altered people’s shopping methods with most of them buying clothing and beauty products online (Arikan and Stulz, 2016). Technology has helped improve brands due to changes in customer expectations who expect to be served in the best possible way. Fred Perry has faced the impact of technological change as the race between companies has intensified. The brand is using best technology to remain competitive. From social networks to website apps and better production systems the company has been able to remain competitive. 

Legal Factors

Several legal requirements have affected the fashion industry. There are laws such as worker’s rights, environment laws, and specific laws for different countries that affect brands. Trade agreements are also significant in affecting international brands such as Fred Perry. Laws on imports and exports also affect profitability and expansion of fashion brands.

Environmental Factors

Environment is an important dynamic of the fashion industry. Global warming and climate change pose challenges to Fred Perry brand especially in developing countries. Unforeseen weather changes harm cotton farms and maintenance of production plants. Fred Perry brands needs getting aware of the risks so as to prepare workers and maintain industrial plants.

Relevant Changes within the Micro environment

The historic brand was born of Tibby Wegner and Fred Tennis player who won several Wimbledon awards. The two decided to create a sportswear clothe line. In the 60’s, it was a successful brand and a symbol of English clothing. The powerful business concept by Fred Perry contributes significantly to its competitive advantage (Isac and Rusu, 2014). The sustainable business model has influenced management strategies over the last few decades making it enjoy brand acceptance and penetration. Despite the widespread adoption, its business model has not remained static. The company is trying to differentiate itself to perform differently and outdo the threats by competitors.

Fred Perry takes pride as being the first company in the UK to incorporate sportswear and street fashion to come up with iconic styles that have been in the market for decades. The first polo shirt by the company was quickly adopted by tennis players in British courts. Since its creation, the shirt is associated with music affiliates and a series of subcultures. Today, the company’s logo is adopted in over 50 countries by shops and clients across the world. The original polo shirt is still significant in the British fashion industry.  Fred Perry has diversified its production to include tennis-inspired shoes and casual clothes. Product diversification in the company also includes over-sized sweater dresses, tracksuits and cardigans (Bruce et al., 2014). The company has made several changes in its micro environment to increase sales. In the beginning, the products were sold in physical store but currently the management has established online presence where it is able to market products internationally. Over time, the brand has caught the eyes of a number of celebrities making it popular than ever before. The company has not made changes to its marketing strategies after it came to a realization that it does not rely only on social media but rather invests on large bill boards. The fashion line connects with all generations by creating a timeless appeal (Bhardwaj and Fairhurst, 2010). Unlike other companies, Fred Perry has maintained its initial logo for decades as a sign of championship and quality.  The symbol is an image of victory of honor that helps the company to win a competitive advantage.  Fred Perry is keen on maintaining multi-generational customers by having the right conversations with the right people through emails and other online advertising channels with people who understand the company’s heritage. Although sales in Middle East, Australia, North America and Asia fell by 6% in the 12 months, they remained flat in Europe and UK. The micro environment is affected by other factors such as suppliers, labor and cost of production but the company has been able to manage them for profit maximization.

Strategies and Tactics

For decades, the fashion industry has maintained the first position as the fastest growing sector in the UK.  Political instability, Brexit and terrorism have brought uncertainty in the world economy. Still, it is expected that it will make a comeback if the changes are addressed. Economic decline caused by low oil prices in Russia affected the United States and United Kingdom. The unpredictable events affecting industries can be explained using Uncertainty theory. Uncertainty explains a situation where there is inexactness and unreliability of events (Fernie et al., 2018). While Fred Perry brand has no influence on political threats, it must find ways of adapting to them to remain competitive and successful.  Politics determine a company’s ability to differentiate itself with competitors. The organization should develop strategies for addressing unpredictable events so that it can comfortably resist any future changes. Additionally, it is important to have sophisticated policies for evaluating regions that have high political risk. Fred Perry should avoid investment in areas that have unstable government. As explained in uncertainty theory, it is difficult to predict political risk, therefore, plans for avoiding such uncertainties should be made on ongoing basis. It is clear that political dangers require Fred Perry to take proactive steps for assessing and managing the risks.

The life cycle theory requires Fred Perry brand to adopt product management tactics for solving the risks caused by consumer spending. Unarguably, politics affect spending due to volatility of currencies. Retail life cycle is of the view that return on investment should be viewed as an opportunity. Consequently, price reduction strategy would be effective for adapting to economic factors caused by Brexit.  Along with other marketing pillars including place, positioning and product development, permanent price reduction or temporary discounts would be an effective way for Fred Perry to fight political influence. Depending on the target customers, can increase sales and profits. Developing strategies and tactics is crucial for all organizations. With an idea of the macro environment factors affecting a business, it is easy to come up with an effective strategy for helping the company to achieve its goals or attain the set targets.  

Recommendations

Behind the success of a fashion company, there is a team of strategy developers involved in decision making. Achieving the goals of a company is important for enabling it to remain competitive and without a good strategy, the company cannot grow. It is important the company to allocate resources, set priorities and work on set time frame for controlling the mechanisms within the industry. Over the years, Fred Perry has increasingly increased customers’ confidence in the quality of their products. The company has established itself as a reputable supplier of high quality and affordable fashion items in the UK (Blazques, 2014). Therefore, the management can capitalize on this strength to further market its products. According to the theory of hypothesis testing, the information available to consumers before they make purchase decisions is essential in creating expectations, which are typically tested by experiencing the actual product or service. Further, the premise also holds that customers ordinarily attempt to corroborate their expected levels of satisfaction rather than disconfirming it. This consumer’s bias creates an opportunity for the management of evidence, which can be used as a marketing strategy. Accordingly, the company should endeavor to attract more customers, especially millennials, by communicating how the products meet this population’s needs. The increasing proportion of the young generation is a vital segment that can boost the firm’s sales significantly. Further, the life-cycle hypothesis proposes that individuals’ spending habits are carefully planned over the course of their lifetime, taking into account their expectations of future revenue (DeBrito, Carbone, and Blanquart, 2008). Therefore, the company should position its products to match the spending pattern of people in different age groups. Accordingly, the firm can offer price discounts to allow people to save as much as they need.

Conclusion

The retail industry involved direct sale of goods and services between the sellers and end consumers. In the UK, the industry is a great contributor to the GDP and as of 2016, it markets sales volume of 358 billion. As an industry in the retail market, fashion holds plenty of opportunities for the UK residents employing 5.2 million people.  Fred Perry is one of the leading brand in UK that has also established global presence. The designer is famous for casual and sportswear, mainly polo shirts. Like any other company the brand is affected by micro economic factors such as competitors, suppliers, customers, and adverting. In addition, the macro environment is affected by political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors.

References

Arikan, A.M. and Stulz, R.M., 2016. Corporate acquisitions, diversification, and the firm’s life cycle. The Journal of Finance71(1), pp.139-194.

Bhardwaj, V. and Fairhurst, A., 2010. Fast fashion: Response to changes in the fashion industry. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research20(1), pp.165-173.

Blazquez, M., 2014. Fashion shopping in multichannel retail: The role of technology in enhancing the customer experience. International Journal of Electronic Commerce18(4), pp.97-116.

Bruce, M., Daly, L. and Towers, N., 2014. Lean or agile: A solution for supply chain management in the textiles and clothing industry?. International Journal of Operations & Production Management24(2), pp.151-170.

De Brito, M.P., Carbone, V. and Blanquart, C.M., 2008. Towards a sustainable fashion retail supply chain in Europe: Organisation and performance. International Journal of Production Economics114(2), pp.534-553.

Fernie, J., Sparks, L. and McKinnon, A.C., 2018. Retail logistics in the UK: past, present and future. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management38(11/12), pp.894-914.

Halliday, S. (2018). Fred Perry profits rise despite sales dip. [online] FashionNetwork.com. Available at: https://uk.fashionnetwork.com/news/Fred-Perry-profits-rise-despite-sales-dip,906167.html#.W_-9w2gzbIV [Accessed 29 Nov. 2018].

Isac, F.L. and Rusu, S., 2014. Theories of consumer’s satisfaction and the operationalization of the expectation disconfirmation paradigm. Economy Series2, pp.82-88.

Psalti, S. (2016). The Fred Perry Store re-opened in Berlin and here’s what happened | NBHAP. [online] NBHAP. Available at: https://nbhap.com/beyond/the-fred-perry-store-re-opened-in-berlin [Accessed 29 Nov. 2018].

Scholz, C. and Zentes, J. (2012). Beyond sustainability. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

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