1 watch a video and answer questions 2 read two paragraphs and write what you think

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First, Please watching the videos on strategic planning, brainstorm a company you think that could really use some strategic planning of its own (preferably a publically traded company though it doesn’t have to be). Share the following:

1. Why did you select this company? (personal observations, in the news, poor scores in the industry, customer complaints, etc)

2. How the company would improve from planning (in other words, where would they benefit most).

3. Ideas for improving their organization.

Second, read those two paragraph and write your thought for each.

1. from the news I read in Wall Street Journal about Bon-Ton. Bon-Ton used to be one of the largest regional department-store chains in the U.S. However, Bon-Ton is now about to be in bankruptcy. In 2017, Bon-Ton was under serious financial pressure: negative free cash flow, poor interest coverage, poor financial ratios, and its hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. S&P has listed the company as one of the retailers most at risk of bankruptcy. The stock price fell 13 percent to 14 cents in New York in February, 2018. It has lost 89 percent of its value in the past year. Bon-Ton has consistently been in the bottom compared to the index of retail industry peers. Another reason which brings Bon-Ton to go down is because of its poor customer services, frequent credit card charge problem, slow order processing, poor customer representative service. Last but not least, undifferentiated product is also a big problem for Bon-Ton.

One of the biggest challenge Bon-Ton facing is its financial problem. In my opinion, Bon-Ton is under too much debt, they need to find new potential investors and restructuring their financial plan. Bon-Ton also need to close many of its department store to generate money, putting in great effort to make the business sustainable first.

Base on my previous analysis, for financial side, for example, Bon-Ton can look for some buyers who would possibly invest to help them overcome this crisis Bon-Ton facing. For Bon-Ton itself, they need change their undifferentiated products to consumers. They can do more in own brands to make them differentiated, refreshing the store layout, opening small locations, taking care its e-commerce business, improving their customer services.

Write your thought:


I have chosen Sears as a company in need of some serious strategic planning as it has been on a continuous decline over the pat 6 or so months, as have many retailers with the rise and dominance of Amazon and online shopping. In addition, the last time I walked through a Sears, (which I honestly can’t even remember the last time I visited a mall let alone a Sears), the store was absolute mess. Shelves were empty and dirty, those that actually had products were messy and shelved haphazardly. The store looked like it should go out of business. I used to go to Sears with my family all th time and we would always walk around the store amazed at the range of products they sold all in one store. Now, it is certainly not a place I would prefer to shop. In addition, the staff seemed miserable, and that is certainly not an attitude the company should project onto customers. In addition, since last March, the company’s stock has dropped about 72%, as in March of 2017 the stock price was about $9 and now it is at about $2.50.

I believe that Sears could improve from a better strategic plan in terms of their retail stores but also in their online presence. Customers are doing more and more online shopping and I do not think that Sears has adjusted to that concept, or in other words they did not do a comprehensive PEST analysis as discussed in the video, especially in relation to the Technology section. The stores should be more focused on certain items rather than just trying to sell everything at relatively low costs. I do not think that retail stores will ever be completely eliminated (at least in our lifetimes), but Sears should seriously reconsider the number of physical stores and their sizes in order to cut costs and focus more on the online sector to compete with Amazon and other companies that sell similar products at relatively similar prices.

Sears could look at its physical store and maybe focus more on a friendly shopping experience and customer service aspect. Maybe they could look at Amazon’s customer service model and do something similar except through an in-person meeting rather than just online or over the phone. In addition, I think the company overall would also benefit from a morale boost for its “front line” employees. I am far more likely to walk into a store (say Hilliard’s Chocolate for example) that has friendly, knowledgeable, and ready-to-help staff than a store with high school students as employees who look miserable and are rude and uninterested. The company needs to change its outlook and implement significant change in order to not only attract new employees, but make existing employees more satisfied. In addition, the online aspect of the company needs to be improved so that there is something different about ordering and having the products shipped to customer homes. For appliances, maybe they could offer some kind of installation package, or some kind of help line line with technicians available 27/7. Finally, maybe the company needs to be more definitive in its Core Business Activity. It could cut back on the number of products and product categories in order to sell the best quality products at the price targets customers are familiar with. It could also acquire smaller companies that sell certain product categories similar to Sears and use their expertise in the field of specific products the help sell them more effectively and efficiently.

Write your thought:

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