Essay about Hart, Schaffner & Marx Case

1046 Words Jan 29th, 2011 5 Pages
Although the market for separates is certainly viable given promising growth in test markets, it is not a market that makes sense for Hart, Schaffner & Marx (HSM) to compete in. The trend certainly shows a divergence in how some customers view their needs with regards to semi-formal clothing, but the firm runs the risk of diluting not only the perceived quality of its clothing, but also alienating its current client base that is partial to the experience HSM offers in its stores. This experience includes personalized expertise on new fashions, custom tailoring, and the status associated with purchasing and wearing the company’s clothes. Although data is limited to a single years sales comparison in four different test markets, unit …show more content…
As a result of being more cost sensitive, the separates customer isn’t looking for the personalized service that an HSM client would expect. The separates customer might also not perceive higher quality fabric is necessary, and prefer cheaper fabric if it drops the price, whereas an HSM client might require higher quality fabric. Exhibit 3 highlights a perception map based on fabric quality and personalized service.
Since the status associated with its suits is important to its customer base, introducing comparable “high quality” separates might alienate the current base. Although “high-quality” separates might be directly comparable in terms of fabric quality, the average HSM customer might not agree, and view the company’s offerings as no longer offering them the status they once did. It is certainly possible other executives might adjust their view of the “status” associated with HSM’s offerings as a result, which could counteract the professionalism the purchaser is trying to exude. The company’s reputation has been built up over more than a century, and has been successful because of a competitive advantage of serving a particular market that desires both its products and the experience offered in their stores. Other competitors will find HSM customers difficult to convert because of high switching costs associated with a personalized service. There is a strong possibility of reducing this competitive advantage if the

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