Marks & Spencer Resources, Capabilities & Competitive Advantage

Essay by kerrysheehanUniversity, Master'sB, March 2004

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Marks & Spencer

Resources, Capabilities & Competitive Advantage

Compiled for Paull Robathan.

Author: Kerry Sheehan

Monday, 02 February 2004


In the period up until the mid 1990's M&S had a market leading share of the clothing market. They used their resources and subsequent capabilities to exploit their differences from the competitors and create competitive advantage by:

*Empowering suppliers/manufacturers with design responsibility

*Closely managing supplier relationships

*Brand management

*Excellent customer service

*Excellent working conditions

*Their Britishness

Through these unique policies they created CA and profitable growth.

Richard Greenbury become Chair man and proceeded with a strategy that was inward focussed and paid scant regard for the external environment, particularly that of its competitors and customers!

His poor understanding of the external environment and complacency in underestimating it meant M&S could not maintain their fit between their organisational resources and capabilities and the significant changes in both the external and competitive environment.

The time to make changes was when M&S were at the top and had the resources to do so but Greenbury failed to realise the threat and did not react.

On appointing Luc Vandevelde, M&S should recommend the following strategies are pursued to correct Greenbury's failings:

*Restate the corporate values of quality, value & service

*Implement rigorous supplier quality audits

*Encourage participative management

*Implement new supplier partnerships outside of UK

*Employ Design Director with responsibility for seasonal ranges

oTarget individual fashion groups with individual ranges

oPartnerships with recognised designers

Contents Page

1Executive Summary2


2.1The Clothing Market4

3Part A5



3.3Intangible Resources6

3.4Human resources7


3.6Sources of Competitive Advantage8

3.6.1First Mover Advantage:9




3.7Value Chain10

3.7.1M&S Value Chain Key Strengths:10

4Part A Summary11

5Part B12

5.1Identifying Greenbury's Strategies12

5.1.1Measuring Success12

5.2Strategic Analysis:13

5.2.1The External Environment:13

5.2.2The Competitive Environment14

5.3Resources & Capabilities14

5.4Strategic Choice15

5.5Stakeholder expectations16...