Case Study Analysis Paper:
Prepare a case study analysis of Case 2 “Ann Taylor: Survival in Specialty Retail” found
in the Cases section of your digital book.
The Unit Eight Assignment provides for the professional competency of leadership
where you will formulate solutions for identified initiatives. These initiatives will be
necessary to provide the leadership team of Ann Taylor a better view of the operation
through innovative solutions such as integrated balanced scorecard software in support
of the current strategic control systems implemented. You will demonstrate superior
ability to integrate an innovative application of resources and knowledge in support of
trends and practices for one’s self/team/profession to achieve optimum stakeholder
outcomes.Closely adhere to the Case Study Analysis Template by clicking on the
hyperlink. Please utilize this template format for this Assignment. Use titles and subtitles
per the format for readability purposes.
Focus upon the idea of the company’s balanced scorecard and control systems to guide and
monitor its strategy implementation in order to help move Ann Taylor competitively forward. Be
sure to include the SWOT analysis as shown in the Appendix of your paper (after the References
page). Use the completed SWOT analysis to guide you through the case study analysis to create
three alternate solutions that can address the need for creativity and innovation. Choose one of
the three alternative solutions and discuss the selected solution as well as how you as a leader
would plan to implement this initiative.
• Conduct a SWOT analysis on the case study company’s current lack of strategic
• Create a case study analysis focusing on the company’s challenge relative to
strategic control through a balanced scorecard and implementation.
For additional Assignment details see Rubric below.
Unit 8 Ann Taylor: Survival in Specialty Retail Case Study Analysis
Name of Case Study
Company Name: Ann Taylor.
Topic of the Week: Business Strategy.
Synopsis of the Situation
In the wake of 2008 global recession, many retail businesses faced enormous financial challenges that threatened their existence. A case in point is Ann Taylor Stores Corporation, which faced a financial crisis during the recession, and among other retail businesses. The only alternative to the growing financial crisis lay on analyzing weak areas of the retail business and developing new modes of operations that could be profitable. Kay Krill, the CEO of the retail business, was considering altering the modes of operation in order to reverse the worsening situation. Prior to his appointment, different concerns were emerging from various segments over Ann Taylor’s business strategy.
It was clear that during his appointment, Ann Taylor needed rebranding since the earlier brand had lost its glory among the consumers. Ann Taylor’s key consumer group was working class women. The brand had cut a niche as home for quality clothes for high-class women. However, Ann Taylor had failed to keep up with new trends in the fashion industry, focusing mainly on promoting the historic brands. The 2008 global financial crisis saw a reduction in spending by consumers on items such as clothes. In addition, consumers were more cautious on how they spent their money, opting for quality products and within certain price range.
<Create at least three alternative solutions that are original and not from the case study itself.>
- Ann and Taylor should develop and implement a price differentiation strategy. Reducing the price of the products can help retain or increase customers in the face of a global financial recession.
- Increasing the range of available assortments. This could enable the company to target new consumer groups such as musicians or artists.
- Seek the services of outside product design and development experts. Ann Taylor has traditionally relied on in-house product design teams, hence the lack of product versatility.
Selected Solution to the Problem
<Choose one of the Alternative Solutions that you created that will best fit and describe it.>
The best alternative solution that fits this case is to seek the services of an outside product design and development team. For a long period, Anne Taylor has relied on the services of in-house product design and development team. This has contributed to lack of innovativeness and creativity on the variety of clothes the retailer produces. This is evidenced in the fact that Ann Taylor has mainly pushed for the classic black dress and power suit for almost a decade. On the other hand, consumers’ tastes and preferences have shifted towards other sophisticated and contemporary product designs. This has led to declined popularity of Ann Taylor’s products.
Ann Taylor may derive many benefits from outsourcing the product design and development functions. One of the major benefits that the firm can obtain from outsourcing product design and development is leveraging on multidisciplinary expertise (Halvey & Melby, 2007). By contracting outside product design and development team, the retailor can be able to inject innovativeness leading to establishment of new line of products that are appealing to consumers. The retailor can also be able to focus on other activities as an outside team handles the product design and development function (Halvey & Melby, 2007). Outsourcing can enable the retailer take advantage of new trends in the market. Outside product designers are likely to introduce new trends or new concepts in the fashion industry compared to in-house designers.
<Discuss a plan in how you intend to implement the Selected Solution on behalf of the company featured in the case study.>
Implementation should start by first analyzing the role played by in-house product designers. It is important that the retailer ensure that the outside product designers can be able to perform all the functions previously under in-house product design team. The second step is to ensure that outsourcing complies with local industry regulations. Different countries may have different regulations guiding outsourcing since it could involve looking for talent in oversea countries (oshri, Kotlarsky, & Willcocks, 2011). The next step is to look for qualified product designers and developers who have gained success in the fashion industry over the past few years. The designers should be highly creative and innovative, and preferably in the retailer’s line of interest.
Once the designers are identified, it is now their effort to introduce new and innovative designs that match Ann Taylor’s product line or areas of interest. The designers should be able to introduce products that sent trends in the fashion industry, and thus enable the retailer to improve sales. The retailers should be able to design products that cut across different consumer segments. For instance, they should be able to develop designs for different age groups in order to attract more consumers. The last step involves examining the whether outside design and development team has led to any marginal increases in sales.
Recommendations and Conclusion
<Discuss one of the alternative solutions not chosen and express why this would be a good choice as well and wrap up the analysis.>
Another alternative solution that can help improve the performance of the retailer is to focus on increasing the range of available assortments. Ann Taylor offers a narrow range of assortments to consumers. In addition, the retailer’s classic brand has lost taste among consumers due to lack of innovativeness. Ann Taylor can increase the range of available assortments by expanding into different age segments of consumers. For instance, the retailer can increase its customer base to include the young who are below 20 years. Targeting multiple age groups can enable the retailer improve sales and reverse the current trends involving low sales.
There is dire need for Ann Taylor to change its operation strategy in order to reverse the declining sales in the main segment. Changing a strategy can help increase sales and acquire new consumers. A case in point is the introduction of Ann Taylor LOFT concept, which gained prominence among consumers. Outsourcing the design and development team can help in bringing innovation and creativity in new product designs.
Halvey, J. K., & Melby, B. M. (2007). Business process outsourcing: Process, strategies, and contracts. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Oshri, I., Kotlarsky, J., & Willcocks, L. (2011). The handbook of global outsourcing and offshoring. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Figure 1. SWOT Analysis based upon the topic of the week for the company case.
- Strong brand name.
- Multiple store locations across the U.S.
- Quality customer care leading to brand loyalty.
- Changes in consumers’ tastes and preferences.
- Overreliance on a single classic brand of product.
- Supply chain issues.
- Opportunity to expand in overseas markets.
- The retailer can improve its online presence and move more products.
- Cutting down operating costs.
- Strong competition from other retailers.
- Economic fluctuations in the U.S.
- Cannibalization may affect Ann Taylor and the new LOFT brand.