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RMG301 Retail Operations Management


The Assignment
This is an individual assignment.  Each student is to compare two retail companies.

You will critically analyze and compare at least one value creation process and at least one support process. You will clearly identify the processes as ‘value creation’ or ‘support’.  You will demonstrate your understanding of the concepts covered in the course. Your project will be marked out of a total score of 100, and will be scaled to be worth 20% of your final grade.

One of the companies (Company A) that you select must be publicly traded.  Both Canadian and non-Canadian companies are okay, and you must ensure that you have full access to their financial reports in English.  Companies selected must be hardlines, softlines or food (such as a supermarket).  This excludes auto, restaurants and fast food.  It would be to your advantage, but not essential, if the companies have stores locally so that you can visit them.

The other company (Company B) may be public or private.  If it is a private company, it must have stores locally so that you can gather information about the company by visiting the stores.

Prior to making your final selection, you should also check that there is additional information available about Company A in trade magazines and business journals. You will find vital information in the annual report.  There will be the Chairman or President’s message that tells you the strategic focus.  Then there will be highlights that will tell you which processes are important.   For some companies, you will find additional supportive information in trade magazines, newspapers, and internet sites that follow retail.  You may find articles in the Business Section of the major newspapers, such as the Globe and Mail and the National Post.  The Retail Council of Canada publishes a magazine called ‘Canadian Retailer’.  The National Retail Federation (for US stores) publishes a magazine called ‘Stores’. Our Ryerson library has access to electronic versions of newspapers and retail trade publications and the librarians will be able to assist you if required.

Where possible you are encouraged to visit a number of Company A’s stores, but I recognize that you may have chosen a publicly traded company that has no stores in Canada.  However for Company B, you must choose a company with stores in Canada and you are expected to visit a number of their stores in order to observe operational practice and comment on strategy.  You may wish to speak to store managers and head office personnel if accessible.

You must demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered in the course:  you should be able to describe strategy, and how the processes support their strategy.  You should identify the processes that are key to the company’s competitive advantage.  You should be able to identify the customer benefit package.

You must also highlight some key facts about Company A, such as number of stores, annual sales, sales per sq ft, inventory turns, average size of store, etc.


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