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Marks & Spencer and Zara

Business Studies

This case illustrates the importance of business process (supply chain) design as a basis for competition in the textile industry. The case first explores the historically superior performance of Marks and Spencer and investigates the causes of recent struggles in the
company profits. It then contrasts the case of Marks of Spencer with that of Zara, a new fashion player from Spain, which has innovated in supply chain/process design and has absolutely remarkable performance when contrasted with Marks and Spencer. A careful comparison between these two business models will help us understand the effective use of the operational hedges and how they relate to firm profits.

Please answer the following questions:

1. What is innovative about Zara? What are the major differences in Zara’s supply chain
when compared with that of M&S?
2. Why is it so difficult for M&S to start playing the “fashion” game? What do you think of
the programs launched by Peter Salsbury in response to the troubles at M&S?
3. What, if any, guidance would you offer for turning M&S around?
4. Compare M&S’s approach to that of Inditex, Zara’s parent company?

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Last Updated on April 25, 2020

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