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| Words: 1679 | Submitted: 08-Apr-2011
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DescriptionWal-Martís competitive environment.
Case Study #2: Wal-Mart
Wal-Martís competitive environment is quite unique. Although Wal-Martís primary competition comes from general merchandise retailers, warehouse clubs and supermarket retailers also present competitive pressure. The discount retail industry is substantial in size and is constantly experiencing growth and change. The top competitors compete both nationally and internationally. There is extensive competition on pricing, location, store size, layout and environment, merchandise mix, technology and innovation, and overall image. The market is definitely characterized by economies of scale. Top retailers vertically integrate many functions, such as purchasing, manufacturing, advertising, and shipping. Large scale functions such as these give the top competitors a significant cost advantage over small-scale competition.
In general merchandise retailing, Wal-Martís primary competitors are Target and Kmart. Retail superstores such as Circuit City and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, also provide retail competition. A survey found that the majority of respondents favored Wal-Mart over stores like Target and Kmart. Respondents claimed Wal-Mart offered lower prices, better variety and selection, and good quality. The needs of consumers is an important economic feature in all competitive environments. What attributes (price, variety, quality, etc.) prompt buyers to choose one retailer over another is very important in the competitive landscape.
In the warehouse segment, Wal-Martís Samís Club competes harshly with Costco. Costco has fewer warehouses but greater sales and revenues. Costco customers also shop at Costco more frequently than Samís Club customers and, on average, spend more each visit as well. Costcoís dominance may be the result of better innovation. Costco offers luxury items and was the first to sell fresh meat and produce, and gasoline. This is important because innovation is a key factor in assessing competitors in an industry.
Last, Wal-Mart is also in direct competition with large supermarket retailers. Production capacity in the grocery industry is quite populated and Wal-Mart poses a serious threat to many supermarket retailers, both large and small. Kroger, Albertsonís, and Safeway are all finding it very difficult to compete with Wal-Martís low prices. Because the industry is so crowded, even the large supermarket retailers are seeking to differentiate themselves in order to stay afloat.
In reference to the Five Forces Model, being the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Martís position is strong overall. Rivalry among competitors is fairly weak. The market is crowded but Wal-Mart has the lowest costs, prices, profits, and market share. The threat of substitute products is also weak. Wal-Mart exerts a great deal of effort in making sure they are innovative and meeting customer demands. The bargaining power of suppliers ...
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