Page 1: Introduction
Businesses must respond to change in order to remain competitive. Developing appropriate strategies which allow them to move forward is essential. Wilkinson is a prime example of a business that has responded to changing customer needs throughout its history. It is one of the UK”s long-established retailers of a wide range of food, home, garden, office, health and beauty products.
Growing the business
James Kemsey (JK) Wilkinson opened his first Wilkinson Store in Charnwood Street, Leicester in 1930. After the Second World War, the 1950s saw a rise in the use of labour-saving devices and DIY. Wilkinson responded by making this type of product the focus of its sales.
In the 1960s customers wanted more convenience shopping. Wilkinson started selling groceries and supermarket goods and created the Wilko brand. In the 1980s Wilkinson extended its range of low-cost products to include quality clothing, toys, toiletries and perfumes.
In 1995 it opened a central distribution centre in Worksop, serving stores in the north of England and in 2004, a new distribution centre opened in Wales. In 2005 Wilkinson launched its Internet shopping service, offering over 800,000 product lines for sale online.
Wilkinson currently has over 300 stores, which carry an average of 25,000 product lines. 40% of these are Wilko 'own-brand' products. The company's target is to see this element grow and to have over 500 stores by 2012.
Wilkinson's growth places it in the top 30 retailers in the UK. Recently it has faced increasing challenges from competitors, such as the supermarket sector. Wilkinson needed to combat this and identify new areas for growth.
Over two years it conducted extensive market research. This has helped it create a marketing strategy designed to continue growing by targeting a new market segment - the student population.
This case study focuses on how Wilkinson created and implemented this strategy, using the findings of its market research to drive the strategy forward.