Retail supermarket

Competitive strategies employed by retail supermarkets in the UK: a comparative study.


The retail supermarket plays a very important role in the economy. these retail supermarkets cannot be sidelined as they serve the customers those products which they regularly need and which are very much essential. The retail supermarkets success probability depends on their strategy. Strategy of a retail supermarket keeps changing from time to time. This is because of the changes that take place in the business environment. The strategies that are designed cannot be executed easily there exist various challenging factors affecting the strategies of these retail supermarkets. The retail supermarkets should design the strategies which in turn should threat the challenging business environment factors and pose a tough competition to the fellow retail supermarkets.

The research proposal proposes the comparative study of the competitive strategies of the retail supermarkets. The term strategy refers to the act to plan. Without a strategy a business cannot function. It is only with the help of the strategy that the retail supermarkets achieve the objectives. These retail supermarkets design different strategies at different stores or a similar one at all of them. The strategies are framed on the basis of the market study. The strategy is then build on this basis. The market comprises of the customers and the various organizations. Thus the retail supermarkets should build competitive strategy.


The organization background is incorporated to provide details of the leading retail supermarkets on which the comparative study of the competitive strategies is conducted. The organization background gives the details of the strategies that have been adopted by these retail supermarkets.


The Waitrose retail supermarket is the division of the British retailer and worker john Lewis partnership. As of November 2009 the Waitrose has 229 branches. The Waitrose retail super market was founded by three founders they were Wallace Waite, Arthur rose and David Taylor. David Taylor stepped out of the partnership and thus the store renamed as the Waitrose. By the year 1973 the company had ten chains of stores and this was then taken over by the John Lewis partnership. By the year 1960 Waitrose started expanding its business by opening several stores across London.

Waitrose was the first retail supermarket to sell the organic food. In the year 2000 the Waitrose Company purchased 11 stores from rival Somerfield. Even the Morrison's sold 19 stores to the Waitrose Company in the same year. In the year 2006 additional 5 stores were purchased from the Morrison's. In the year 2008 Waitrose purchased 4 Woolworths store.

The company has purchased several stores and has taken so many acquisitions only because to achieve its target. Its target was to open 400 branches across the United Kingdom by 2017 and doubling its revenue by eight billion pounds by 2016.

To achieve its objective it has purchased store from other companies and has also opened its own stores. Waitrose has involved in a joint scheme with its sister concern john Lewis and has branded these stores as "John Lewis Food Hall". The Waitrose has been facilitated with the following awards and acquisitions:

  • Multiple Retailer of the Year
  • Best High Street Retailer for Customer Service
  • UK's Favorite Retailer
  • Multiple Retailer of the Year
  • Best Business Initiative
  • Seafood Multiple Retailer of the Year
  • Best Animal Welfare Practice
  • Best Supermarket [for Wines] (Decanter World Wine Award)
  • UK's favorite supermarket
  • UK's top food retailer for customer service

It is only because of the expansion strategy the Waitrose store were spread across the United Kingdom and serving them by setting their stores in their surroundings.


WM Morrison Supermarket is the fourth largest retail supermarket in the United Kingdom. It is a part of the FTSE 100 index companies. The Morrison's was founded in the year 1899 by William Morrison. It started off from egg and butter stall and has slowly emerged out as the one of the leading retail supermarkets in the United Kingdom. By the end of the year 2004 the Morrison's had 417 chainsof stores. The company was later taken over by William Morrison's son ken Morrison. He then opened the first self service store in the year 1958 at Bradford. It was the first store which had the prices tagged on the products and the store had three checkouts. In the year 1967 it has become a public limited company and was listed in the London stock exchange. In the year 2004 morrisons has acquired Safeway. And this acquisition has posed many problems to the Morrison's because of the change in the management. This acquisition was considered as the greatest history of the United Kingdom as the Morrison's has bought 479 stores of the Safeway retail stores at a time.

After this the Morrison's has sold the Safeway stores that were acquired by it to the alda retail supermarkets at Northern Ireland.

In the year 2005 the Morrison's has planned for a split between the Safeway and the British petroleum convenience stores which were jointly operating on the condition that the premises is to be shared equally as two separate stores. Though the Morrison's has acquired all the Safeway store they were sold out to various other chain of the retail supermarkets and the whole process was completed by the year 2007.

The Morrison's had faced many controversies because of the selling of alcohol. A middle aged woman was denied from buying alcohol as she was accompanied by her 17 year old daughter. There were many such cases of denying the customers from purchasing alcohol from their store.

  • Retailer of the Year
  • Multiple Spirits Retailer of the Year
  • The Grocer 33 Best Availability Award
  • The Grocer 33 Best Service Award Store Manager of the Year
  • Fresh flower supermarket of the year
  • Frozen pizza retailer of the year

Because of the acquisition process the Morrison's was able to reach the global customers and succeed.


The literature review entails as to how these retail supermarkets adopt various strategies. Whatever may be the situation the business always aims at attaining profits. But these retail supermarkets should not give role importance to profit maximization but also to wealth maximization. Even if they expand their retail supermarket business by setting up various stores they can spread that risk that may or may not occur. In order for their business expansion they need to stock their premises with such goods which the market is in need of the market comprises of the organization and the individual. These retail supermarkets should adopt market survey. They should stock in those goods which are in demand rather than keeping a stock of unnecessary stock. These retail supermarket also try in their hand in creating their own brand products. The retail supermarkets should first advertise their own brand product. If these product get huge response from the customers then there won't be any turn backs and as these products are not available at any other retail supermarkets it's obvious that the scales figures of these retail supermarket keeps increasing.

The other way to attract the customers is by selling the celebrities brand stock. These days many celebrities are launching their products under their name. These retail supermarkets can convenience the celebrities to give them a chance to stock the products only in their stores thus contributing to an increase in their scales. A part from all these retail supermarkets can sell their stock by providing various offers and this easily attracts the customers.


The research proposal is conducted to seek answers to various questions such as what is a strategy? How are these competitive strategies framed and how these strategies are affected by thevarious challenging factors?


The objective for which the research proposal is set to make a comparative study between the competitive strategies of the retail supermarkets. The other objectives is how do these retail supermarkets succeed from these strategies?


This topic has been selected by me as this covers theheart of the business that is the strategic management. The strategic management plays a critical role as it is the track that the business follows to achieve the set objectives. This topic covers the competitive strategies that are adopted by several retail supermarkets. These retail supermarkets try to step into the success ladder by applying various strategies. It is very simpler that these retail supermarkets aim at achieving the highest profits. As to succeed in this race they are applying various strategies. This study gives a chance to know the strategy operation. Even the view of the experts, owners, employees and the customers can be know in the process of research methodology. Overall it gives a chance to implement the managerial practices and procedures practically and also a chance to brush up the managerial skills.


The term methodology is referred to as "a body of practices, procedures and rules used by those who work in a discipline".

There exist two types of research methodologies. The first is the quantitative research methodology and the second is the qualitative research methodology. The quantitative research methodology uses numerical data and the qualitative research methodology uses non numerical data.

For this type of the research proposal the qualitative research methodology is considered as the best suitable research methodology than the quantitative research methodology. The qualitative research methodology is used for this research study as it aims to gather an in depth information of the human behavior and the reasons that guide the human behavior.

The approaches of the qualitative research methodology are the focus groups, the in depth interviews, the semiotics and the content analysis.

Focus groups

The focus group is one of the approaches of the qualitative research where a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, advertisement, packing, etc., questions are asked in an interactive group and the group members are free to talk about their views.

The different types of the focus groups are the Two-way focus group, Dual moderator focus group, Dueling moderator focus group , Respondent moderator focus group, Client participant focus groups ,Mini focus groups, Teleconference focus groups and theOnline focus groups.

In depth interviews

The in depth interviews are conducted to know the attitude of an individual towards a product.


The semiotics is that type of qualitative research methodology where signs are being made use of.

Content analysis

This is that type of qualitative research methodological approach where the content that is collected is studied to develop a deep insight.


The data for this research proposal is collected through the primary data collection method and the secondary data collection. The primary data is conducted through various interviews. The people who are interviewed for this research include the employees, customers and the people who are involved in the retail supermarket business.

The secondary data is collected from the newsletters, journal, financial statements and the various financial reports.


The data analysis technique is defined as the process of inspecting, cleaning and transforming the data. The data analysis technique organizes the unorganized data. The data forms a critical part of the research. If there is no data then there is no meaning in conducting the research. The data that is collected for the research cannot be included in the research study. The data that is collected for the research proposal cannot be included as it is very vast. And the data that is collected cannot give a clear picture of the topic on which the research is proposed.




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