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Fashion Retail Service - UK - February 2009

Fashion retailers like Next, M&S and Topshop have been through a long period when they have been able to rely solely on declining prices to drive sales upwards. However, with the falling pound and rising overseas sourcing costs, competing on price is going to become increasingly difficult for them.

Customers who still have money to spend are going to be ever more demanding. Retailers will have to identify the needs of their core customer even more closely and make sure that they are met. Improving staff training, motivation and product knowledge, as well as recruitment and retention will be crucial in doing so.

The use of technology is likely to become an increasingly important aspect of providing improved service, especially among younger customers for whom it is a core part of their everyday lives.

Key report themes:
  • What do consumers think of the service they receive?
  • Who are the most demanding groups and which areas of service are most important to them?
  • What are the potential improvements retailers could make to their service proposition?
  • Which retailers are innovating in terms of customer service?
  • What role is technology likely to play in improving the customer experience?
  • How important is the role of customer relationship management?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main themes
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Service not just for the over-35s
              • Helping the 25-34s see what’s available
                • Tailoring services for Wealthy Achievers
                  • You Are In Control (Inspire trend)
                    • Diversity Is All (Inspire trend)
                    • Market in Brief

                      • Customer service needs set to polarise
                        • Wages and recruitment key
                          • Technology offers new opportunities
                            • The bad news on customer service
                              • ...and the good news
                              • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                • Strengths
                                  • Weaknesses
                                  • Internal Market Environment

                                    • Key points
                                      • Clothing market downturn
                                        • Figure 1: Clothing retail sales, non-seasonally adjusted, current and constant 2000 prices, and price change, quarter against same quarter year before, Q3 2006 to Q3 2008
                                      • Pay levels and the National Minimum Wage
                                        • Age structure of workforce
                                          • The rise of value retailers and the supermarkets
                                            • Figure 2: Value clothing specialists’ and non-specialists’ sales and consumer clothing expenditure, 2003-08
                                          • The impact of the internet and in-store technology
                                            • Word of mouth is key
                                            • Broader Market Environment

                                              • Key points
                                                • Consumer recession
                                                  • Figure 3: UK personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, % per annum change, 2003 prices, 2003-13
                                                • Age structure will shift
                                                  • Figure 4: UK population, by age, 2003-13
                                                • Socio-economic changes
                                                  • Figure 5: UK adult population 15+, by socio-economic group, 2003-13
                                                • Increasing unemployment
                                                  • Figure 6: UK unemployment, % of workforce, 2003-13
                                              • Competitive Context

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Fashion better than household, worse than food and drink
                                                    • Poor performance at bottom end
                                                      • Figure 7: Respondents saying retailer has excellent customer service, fashion retail versus household and food and drink retail, 2007-08
                                                    • Best fashion retailers are very strong on service
                                                      • Figure 8: Respondents saying retailer has excellent customer service, top ten specialist fashion retailers, 2007-08
                                                      • Figure 9: Respondents saying retailer has excellent customer service, top ten specialist household retailers, 2007-08
                                                      • Figure 10: Respondents saying retailer has excellent customer service, top ten specialist food and drink retailers, 2007-08
                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Taking the heat out of queuing
                                                        • Brand collaboration
                                                          • Leasing life
                                                            • All a-Twitter
                                                              • SMS
                                                                • Bespoke care
                                                                • The Consumer – Where They Shop

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                        • Figure 11: Where they regularly buy clothing, November 2008
                                                                      • High street still dominates
                                                                        • Department stores ahead of supermarkets and value stores
                                                                          • Value stores visited more by women
                                                                            • Younger men prefer the internet
                                                                                • Figure 12: Where they regularly buy clothing, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                • Figure 13: Where they regularly buy clothing, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                            • The Consumer – What Service They Have Received

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                    • Figure 14: Service received, last time clothes shopping, November 2008
                                                                                  • Only half find service polite and efficient
                                                                                    • Older, upmarket customers more likely to have confident service
                                                                                      • Men say service does not make them buy more
                                                                                        • The 25-34s and ABs worst served
                                                                                            • Figure 15: Service received, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Service received, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                        • The Consumer – Their Attitudes towards Service

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Attitudes towards service, November 2008
                                                                                              • Good service creates loyalty in women and over-65s
                                                                                                • Men avoid bad service more than women
                                                                                                  • Almost one third walk out on long queues
                                                                                                    • A fifth leave due to lack of help
                                                                                                      • Potential sales benefits
                                                                                                        • Value retailers should beware of staff cuts
                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Attitudes towards service, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Attitudes towards service, by gender, age and socio-economic group, November 2008
                                                                                                        • Consumer Views by Where They Shop

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Value stores falling behind on service
                                                                                                                • Figure 20: Attitudes towards service, by where they regularly buy clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                            • Consumer Typologies

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Around one in four are strong service seekers
                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Consumer typologies, by service type, November 2008
                                                                                                                  • The desire for good service increases with age and affluence
                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Groups, by attitudes towards service in store last shopped in, November 2008
                                                                                                                  • Companies and Services

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • The methodology
                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Top ten of all fashion retailers, 2007-08
                                                                                                                      • The case of John Lewis
                                                                                                                        • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Respondents who agree M&S has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Fashion customer services provided by Marks & Spencer, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Arcadia Group
                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Respondents who agree different Arcadia fascias have great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                        • Topshop/Topman
                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Fashion customer services provided by Topshop/Topman, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Dorothy Perkins
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Fashion customer services provided by Dorothy Perkins, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Next
                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Respondents who agree that Next has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Fashion customer services provided by Next, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • TK Maxx
                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Respondents who agree that TK Maxx has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Fashion customer services provided by TK Maxx, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • New Look
                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Respondents who agree that New Look has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Fashion customer services provided by New Look, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Primark
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Respondents who agree that Primark has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Fashion customer services provided by Primark, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Matalan
                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Respondents who agree that Matalan has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Fashion customer services provided by Matalan, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Tesco
                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Respondents who agree that Tesco clothing has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Fashion customer services provided by Tesco, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Asda
                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Respondents who agree that George at Asda has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Fashion customer services provided by George at Asda, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • River Island
                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Respondents who agree River Island has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Fashion customer services provided by River Island, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Debenhams
                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Respondents who agree that Debenhams has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Fashion customer services provided by Debenhams, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Peacocks
                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Respondents who agree that Peacocks has great customer service, %, 2007-08
                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Fashion customer services provided by Peacocks, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Where They Shop

                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Where they buy clothing, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Where they buy clothing, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – What Service They Have Received

                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Service received in-store, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Service received in-store, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Group demographics, by age, gender, socio-economic group, lifestage, region, ACORN group, media usage, TV viewing, supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Attitudes, by where they regularly buy clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Attitudes, by where they regularly buy clothing, November 2008
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Consumer Typologies

                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Typologies, by where they shop, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Number of service-seeking attitudes chose (group formation), November 2008
                                                                                                                        • Strong service seekers most likely to use the internet
                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Groups and where they shop, November 2008
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Their Attitudes towards Service

                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Attitudes towards service, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008
                                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Attitudes towards service, by special group, region, ACORN group, technology users/TV received, daily web use, daily newspapers read and supermarket used, November 2008

                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                                      • Abercrombie & Fitch Co
                                                                                                                      • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                      • ASOS
                                                                                                                      • Bonmarché
                                                                                                                      • British Retail Consortium
                                                                                                                      • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                      • Debenhams Total (GTV)
                                                                                                                      • Dorothy Perkins old
                                                                                                                      • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                      • Homebase Ltd
                                                                                                                      • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                      • John Lewis Plc (department store)
                                                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                      • Matalan Ltd
                                                                                                                      • Mitsukoshi
                                                                                                                      • New Look Group Plc
                                                                                                                      • Next Group
                                                                                                                      • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                      • Peacocks
                                                                                                                      • Primark Stores Ltd
                                                                                                                      • River Island Clothing Co Ltd
                                                                                                                      • Screwfix UK
                                                                                                                      • Somerfield
                                                                                                                      • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                      • The TJX Companies
                                                                                                                      • Topman old
                                                                                                                      • Topshop old
                                                                                                                      • Urban Outfitters
                                                                                                                      • Waitrose
                                                                                                                      • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                      Fashion Retail Service - UK - February 2009

                                                                                                                      £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)