You are required to prepare a report that critically evaluates one retailer’s responses to a current retail market issue in comparison with one or more retailers in the same retail sector as your chosen retailer.

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RETAIL ISSUES AND APPLICATIONS - Guidance Notes For the Summative Assignment

Requirement

You are required to prepare a report that critically evaluates one retailer’s responses to a current retail market issue in comparison with one or more retailers in the same retail sector as your chosen retailer. The focus of the report is an examination, in depth, of the relationships between theory and current retail activities. 

Note that the topic of your report must be based one of the topic areas discussed in the module, i.e. one of the issues below faced by retailers:.   

Retail Branding

E-tailing and Multichannel retailing

Internationalisation of retailers 

Global sourcing 

Shopping Malls and the Future of the High Streets 

Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability 

Social marketing, supply chain issues, and Fair Trade focusing on food 

SUGGESTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE COMPLETION OF THE ASSIGNMENT 

Prepare a report that critically evaluates one retailer’s responses to a current retail market issue in comparison with one or more retailers in the same retail sector as your chosen retailer. 

The assignment asks you to prepare a report that critically evaluates retailers’ responses to a current market issue

i) Firstly, the current issue must be on of the issues discussed in the module, i.e one of the issues below faced by retailers: 

  • Retail Branding  
  • E-tailing, Omnichannel retailing, and E-loyalty 
  • Global retailing 
  • Global sourcing  
  • Shopping Malls and the Future of the High Streets  
  • Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty  
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  and Sustainability  
  • Social marketing, supply chain issues, and Fair Trade focusing on food

ii) ‘One retailer’s responses …in comparison with one or more retailers in the same retail sector as your chosen retailerThis means that the report should look at the responses of one retailer in particular to the chosen topic. In addition you must compare your chosen retailer’s responses with those of one or more retailers in the same sector. 

iii) ‘Critically evaluates’. This means that the report must be more than just a description of activities of retailers and must evaluate how effective the retailers’ responses are to the problem/ issues of concern. 

iv) ‘examination, in depth, of the relationships between theory and current retail activities’. This means that there should a good discussion of the relevant theory/ academic research about the topic and how useful or relevant it is to retailers as well as examining the different ways in which retailers are responding to the issue. 

Structure of the Report

Introduction

The introduction should provide a brief discussion of the reason why the chosen issues is currently important to retailers. It would be a good idea to also briefly indicate why the particular issue is important for the retailer that you have chosen to examine. For instance, if you choose corporate social responsibility and sustainability as an issue for your report the introduction should provide a brief discussion as to why the issue has become increasingly important for retailers. And if, for instance, you wish to focus say on Zara, then a brief discussion on why sustainability is important for the retailer should also be provided to set the scene. 

Main Body of the Report

The main body of the report should discuss the main/important aspect of the chosen issue for retailers. There should also be some discussion of the relevant theory/ research findings relating to the issue. There should also be in depth discussion of how your chosen retailer and other retailer(s) in the sector are tackling the issue and with what results. For instance, if you are looking at e-loyalty, then your report should provide some discussion of the different aspects of loyalty building e.g. trust, relationship satisfaction, commitment etc. and what some of the current findings of research in the area are. You should also discuss how different retailers are attempting to develop e-loyalty and evaluate how effective the various approaches are. 

Conclusions section

The conclusion section should draw out the key lessons that can be learnt regarding what is effective for tackling the chosen issue and how theory might be usefully employed to assist in tackling the issue.  

Finally

Although you are asked for a report, it does not need a contents page or an executive summary. However, it should be make appropriate use of sections and headings to guide the discussion. Remember to support everything with evidence. Where possible your evidence should be from articles (use Journal of Retailing, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Journal of Retail & Consumer Research – Business Source Premier as well as Emerald) and from the quality press and trade press (Retail Week, The Grocer etc.)

Use your conclusion to summarise your findings and extend your work.

Check the marking criteria (on the Assessment Brief and also on Moodle and below)

Marking criteria for the assignment are as follows: 

  1. Breadth and relevance of research 35% 
  2. Level of analysis/application of theory 35% 
  3. Conclusions/ discussion/ policy recommendations 20 % 

Clarity, structure, grammar, correct referencing 10%

If there’s 35% for the breadth and relevance of your research then a couple of web references are not going to score many marks. Top marks in this category require probably 10 to 15 relevant journal articles and a number of retail texts plus some good quality news articles.  If you don’t use the Harvard referencing system you could fail the ‘clarity, structure, grammar, correct referencing section – check the ‘How to study’ guide (link below) for the correct format (or your first year Business Skills notes).


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