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One year ago, a major competitor opened a store down the street from one of its suburban locations. Since then, the client’s store has experienced a loss in profitability. Question Why has the store lost profitability, and what should it do to increase profitability? Additional Information • The competitor services the same clientele • Although both competitors operate nationally, we are only concerned with the local market. • The client’s sales are down by 30%. • The clientele is comprised of 50% yuppies and 50% retirees.

An outstanding approach will include adding a third bucket which is customers (who are the client’s customers and is there a difference in revenues and costs depending on customer type) Good questioning concerning costs will involve dividing costs into fixed and variable costs. Questions on costs should extract the following information: - There has been no change with fixed or variable costs The candidate should then quickly realize that cost is not the issue Questions on revenue should extract the following information: - Average price has declined - The volume sales breakdown has changed with increased sales towards large candy stores and decreased sales towards small candy stores With this information, the candidate’s answer should be that the reason for the declining profitability, despite increased unit sales and decreased costs, is that the profit margin for large candy stores is less, since large stores can extract Management Consulting Group Casebook 2003-2004 more volume discounts, and with a higher proportion of the client’s sales going to large candy stores, the client’s profit margin has thus decreased 45 46 Management Consulting Group Casebook 2002-2003 RETAIL STORE • Profitability / Profit Improvement Background A consulting firm was hired by a well-known manufacturer of designer men’s and women’s clothing.

Fixed costs have remained the same. • Revenue has increased • Sales of Coffee, in units, have remained constant. • Sales of Quick Snacks, in units, have increased. • In percentage terms, Coffee used to comprise 90% of sales (it now comprises 60%), and Quick Snacks used to comprise 10% of sales (and now comprise 40% of sales) • A nearby campus cafeteria has recently closed down • The margin on a cup of Coffee is 20 cents, while the margin on a Quick Snack is -2 cents. Approach • The central issue in this case is the sales mix of the store.

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