Missing the mark

There was an intriguing mia culpa this week from the boss of British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer. Sir Stuart Rose acknowledged that his firm had make some “basic shopkeeping” mistakes at their first store on the Chinese mainland:

Sir Stuart admitted that the company had misunderstood the local market, assuming that M&S expertise in Hong Kong would translate to the mainland. Shanghai clothing sizes were based on Hong Kong sizing, but the smaller sizes rapidly sold out, he said.

This is yet another reminder of one the fundamental challenges of internationalisation – the need to adapt to the idiosyncrasies of new markets.

It is astounding that a firm which operates in 37 countries could still fall for such a trap…


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One Response to “Missing the mark”

  1. Unrelenting Tedium Says:

    Poor old Marks and Spencer is pretty good at making fundamental shopkeeping errors in its home market also! Which is sad coming from a nation of shopkeepers. I remember a similar admission during their big trouble about 5 years ago, that they had forgotten that Mothers were their main market because they tended to buy underwear for everyone in the family including their husbands…how could they forget that??? I guess they were just clamouring to get at the TopShop market.

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