Services and Retail Marketing:Individual Report (1500 words)



Services and Retail Marketing   Assignment Number Coursework
306MKT   Assignment Title
    Assignment Weighting

Assessment Information

This assignment is designed to assess the following learning outcomes:

  • Critically analyse the determinants of competitive success in retail industries, in particular the role and application of marketing within the retail environment.
  • Conduct a critical analysis of contemporary issues in the area of services and retail marketing.

This assignment is an individual assignment.

Coursework task

Marks and Spencer (M&S) is one of the leading retailers in the UK. However, the clothing sales of M&S continue to decline in the past few years, due to strong competition in the market (see Appendix for the case study). As a result, the firm plans to revive its clothing business with lower clothing prices and better style.

You are invited as a marketing consultant to reposition the brand of M&S in the clothing market (750 words) and improve its use of multi-channel retailing to increase sales (750 words).

In the report, you are asked to refer to journal articles in the field of multi-channel retailing to support any suggestions proposed to M&S.

Criteria for Assessment

Structure 10%

Content is organised and appropriate;

coherent; flow of information, arguments, concepts

Knowledge and Understanding 20%

Identifies, explains, draws on appropriate theories, models, literature to demonstrate depth and breadth of reading to address the question

Application 20%

Application of theory or practical examples given appropriate to context

Analysis and Recommendations 40%

Evaluation and critical analysis of the topic, synthesis of ideas/concepts, appropriate conclusions, justified


Presentation 10%

Spelling, punctuation, grammar, layout,

accurate CU Harvard Referencing style, writing style academic/professional



Mark range




Class I





90 – 100%





80 – 89%





70 – 79%






In addition to that for 70 – 79% below, an outstanding answer that could hardly be bettered. High degree of understanding, critical/analytic skills and original research, where specified. Outstanding in all respects.


In addition to that for 70 – 79% below, the answer will demonstrate an excellent level of understanding, presence of clear description, critical/analytical skills or research, as appropriate.


Answer entirely relevant to the assignment set.     Answer will demonstrate clear understanding of theories, concepts, issues and methodology, as appropriate.     There will be evidence of wide-ranging reading and/or research, as appropriate, beyond the minimum recommended. Answers will be written/presented in a clear, well-structured way with clarity of expression. At level 3, evidence of independent, critical thought would normally be expected.



Class II : I


65 – 69%









60 – 64%


Answer demonstrating a very good understanding of the requirements of the assignment. Answer will demonstrate very good understanding of theories, concepts, issues and methodology, as appropriate. Answer will be mostly accurate/appropriate, with few errors.     Little, if any, irrelevant material may be present.   Reading beyond the recommended minimum will be present where appropriate.     Well organised and clearly written/presented.


A good understanding, with few errors.     Some irrelevant material may be present. Well organised and clearly written/presented. Some reading/research beyond recommended in evidence.


Class II : II  

55 – 59%







50 – 54%



Answer demonstrating a good understanding of relevant theories, concepts, issues and methodology. Some reading/research beyond that recommended may be present.     Some errors may be present and inclusion of irrelevant material. May not be particularly well-structured, and/or clearly presented.


Answer demonstrating a reasonable understanding of theories, concepts, issues and methodology. Answer likely to show some errors of understanding. May be significant amount of irrelevant material.     May not be well-structured and expression/presentation may be unclear at times.



Class III


45 – 49%






40 – 44%


An understanding demonstrated, but may be incomplete and with some errors. Limited use of material with limited reading/research on the topic.     Likely to be poorly structured and not well-expressed/presented. Irrelevant material likely to be present.


Basic understanding demonstrated, with some correct description. Answer likely to be incomplete with substantial errors or misunderstandings. Little use of material and limited reading/research on the topic in evidence. May be poorly structured and poorly expressed/presented. Some material may be irrelevant to the assignment requirements.


Marginal fail


35 – 39%


Some relevant material will be present. Understanding will be poor with little evidence of reading/research on the topic. Fundamental errors and misunderstanding likely to be present. Poor structure and poor expression/presentation. Much material may not be relevant to the assignment.





30 – 34%






20 – 29%






0 – 19%


Inadequate answer with little relevant material and poor understanding of theories, concepts, issues and methodology, as appropriate.     Fundamental errors and misunderstandings will be present. Material may be largely irrelevant. Poorly structured and poorly expressed/presented.


Clear failure to provide answer to the assignment.     Little understanding and only a vague knowledge of the area. Serious and fundamental errors and lack of understanding. Virtually no evidence of relevant reading/research.     Poorly structured and inadequately expressed/presented.


Complete failure, virtually no understanding of requirements of the assignment. Material may be entirely irrelevant. Answer may be extremely short, and in note form only. Answer may be fundamentally wrong, or trivial. Not a serious attempt.



Word Count

The word count is 1500 words

There will be a penalty of a deduction of 10% of the mark (after internal moderation) for work exceeding the word limit by 10% or more.

The word limit includes quotations, but excludes the bibliography.

Case study of M&S

Marks and Spencer said like-for-like sales at its clothing arm fell by 8.9% in the first quarter of 2016, as a “weak market” and fewer promotions hit sales. Meanwhile, like-for-like food sales in the quarter of 2016 were down by 0.9%.

In May 2016, the firm’s new boss Steve Rowe unveiled plans to revive the retailer’s clothing and homeware business, with lower clothing prices and better style. The firm said consumer confidence weakened in the run up to the June 23 2016 European Union referendum in the UK. But it said it was too early to quantify the implications of Brexit. In early morning trade, shares in M&S, which have fallen 29% over the last three months, were down by 1.2% to 290.6p.

Pricing policy

M&S also said that this year its summer sale began on 5 July, two weeks later than in 2015, a move that would reduce total sales. The firm said the impact of moving the summer sale and running fewer promotions than last year accounted for 5% of the like-for-like sales fall.

The latest headlines from Marks are bleak. In fact they’re the worst like-for-like sales in clothing and homewares for a decade. But the underlying picture is less grim, if you strip out the effects of price cuts and promotions and the clearance sale now falling into the second quarter of the year. The wider clothing market is also having a pretty torrid time. New figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed fashion sales fell in the year to 5 June, compared with the previous year.

This is the first annual sales decline in six years. The wet weather in June hasn’t helped. As if he didn’t have enough to contend with, Steve Rowe now has to deal with the impact of Brexit – although he and lots of other retailers are still trying to gauge what the effects will be. He says he’s going to hold his nerve for the long term success of the business. Those nerves are likely to be tested in the months ahead.

“We continued to reduce the number of promotional events during the quarter, including just one ‘cyber day’ compared with six last year,” the firm said, adding that it had repriced some 1,000 clothing lines since January. Those 1,000 clothing lines have seen price cuts of around 17% since January, with some seven million items affected.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said the food business “continues to strongly outperform a deflationary market”, with the 0.9% fall in like-for-like sales reflecting the timing of Easter. He said the firm was “confident that our strategic priorities and the actions we are taking remain the right ones to deliver results for our customers and our business”.

‘Uncertain times’

Mr Rowe also said that consumer confidence started to weaken in November 2015, which continued through May 2016 and in the run-up to the EU referendum: “We are operating in uncertain times and consumer confidence remains fragile,” he added.

Today’s first-quarter figures from M&S are worse than analysts’ forecast a 5% to 8% drop for clothing sales. M&S said its full-year guidance remains unchanged: “We continue to manage the business for the challenging market environment.”

Richard Lim, chief executive of research consultancy Retail Economics, said: “M&S’s clothing figures are painfully weak, and fail to stem the loss of market share to other, more-agile, multichannel competitors. Its tireless efforts to revive the struggling clothing business have failed to resonate with its core customer base.”

Source: adapted from BBC news, 7th July 2016