Harrods Research Study


Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Harrods Research Study

  1. 1. Bringing  Harrods  from  London  to  Boston   A  Global  Market  Viability  Research  Study   Marie  Nicolini,  Agapios  Papaioannou,  Zeenat  Rasheed,  Stacey  Subject   GM604B  RESEARCH  METHODS  IN  GLOBAL  MARKETING     FALL  2008   EMERSON  COLLEGE    
  2. 2. Table of Contents I. Executive Summary......................................................................................................................3 II. Introduction .................................................................................................................................4 III. Literature Review.......................................................................................................................6 Harrods Internal Analysis ........................................................................................................6 U.S. Environment Analysis......................................................................................................7 U.S. Industry Analysis .............................................................................................................9 U.S. Competitor Analysis ......................................................................................................10 Consumer Analysis ................................................................................................................11 SWOT Analysis .....................................................................................................................13 SWOT Strategy......................................................................................................................14 IV. Research Objectives.................................................................................................................15 V. Methodology .............................................................................................................................16 Focus Group Interview ..........................................................................................................16 Survey ....................................................................................................................................18 VI. Results......................................................................................................................................20 Focus Group Interview ..........................................................................................................20 Survey ....................................................................................................................................25 VII. Conclusions and Recommendations.......................................................................................36 VIII. Appendix...............................................................................................................................40 Consumer Analysis Data.......................................................................................................40 FGI Discussion Guide...........................................................................................................42 FGI Transcripts .....................................................................................................................44 Questionnaire ........................................................................................................................59 Top Line Report....................................................................................................................69 Summary Tables ...................................................................................................................70 References.............................................................................................................................77 Power Point Presentation Slides ...........................................................................................79 2
  3. 3. I. Executive Summary Harrods is a successful London-based luxury department store that is interested in expanding into the United States. The objectives of this research study are to determine the marketability of Harrods in Boston; to determine the overall evaluation of the Harrods store concept; and assess purchase intention of the store in the Boston market. Research instruments included a questionnaire survey and a focus group interview (FGI). The survey was administered to 100 adult Bostonians using random, convenience sampling. The results showed that a positive overall evaluation of the Harrods store, with top 2 box 71% and a mean score of 4.0. However, the survey also showed a low level of purchase intention, with top 2 box 49% and a mean score of 3.24. Both top 2 box % and mean score for purchase intention failed to pass the action standard set for this study, which was top 2 box 70% and mean score 3.75. The FGI results showed that participants were aware of the store and had a positive opinion about it, but, again, the purchase intention was low and participants expressed doubt about whether Boston would be a suitable market for Harrods due to its size, location and nature. Based on these findings, it is recommended that Harrods could be successful in the U.S. due to the positive response among participants to its individual store attributes, however Harrods should not expand into the Boston market. Further research into market selection is recommended. 3
  4. 4. II. Introduction Harrods is a luxurious, high-end retailer with a rich history and heritage. According to the Harrods website, the company was founded in London in 1834, it is often referred to as the “world’s most famous department store”. Its only operating location in Knightsbridge covers 4.5 acres, and offers an extensive selection of products, a world-class shopping experience and superior customer service. Harrods is more than just a store that carries high-quality branded and designer merchandise; it is an exclusive community, a status symbol, and an experience that inspires awe and admiration among celebrities and commoners alike. Harrods currently operates only in London, but it is an international retail icon with strong brand awareness among consumers from around the world. The store would see great success in the United States given the strong retail culture, the high level of disposable incomes, and a passion for luxury goods and services. Specifically, a Harrods store in Boston would be successful as the city boasts of a large proportion of affluent adults, and there are few competitors that can offer such a comprehensive and quality department store experience. Boston also has strong cultural ties to England, and a very British architectural aesthetic, suggesting that the Harrods brand would resonate with the city’s culture as well. The general objectives of this research study are three-fold: (1) to determine the size and nature of the target Harrods consumer in order to inform brand positioning; (2) to assess the level of competitive threat posed by other luxury retailers in Boston; (3) to determine the impact, if any, of the faltering U.S. economy on the demand for luxury goods among affluent consumers. Secondary research will be conducted using credible industry sources (such as Market Research.com, Hoover’s, LexisNexis, the Harrods website and other online resources). Primary research methods will consist of two sessions of focus group interviews and detailed 4
  5. 5. questionnaires distributed to Boston consumers who do and do not recognize the Harrods brand. The questionnaire will contain a variety of questions to help answer the research objectives, and will range from demographic and psychographic details, to information about attitudes, lifestyle, retail experiences and expectations, shopping motivations, brand awareness and receptivity. 5
  6. 6. III. Literature Review Harrods Internal Analysis The Harrods department store is the largest, wholly owned subsidiary within the Harrods Holding Group. The Harrods store also operates concessions at airports in London, Europe and Asia, and exports and licenses branded merchandise to overseas entities. The company is owned and controlled by billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, and the Fayed family (Harrods UK Commission Report). The Harrods department store operates one location in London’s upscale neighborhood of Knightsbridge. The store’s motto Omnia Omnibus Ubique (All Things for All People Everywhere) comes to life in the 4.5 acre store, which consists of over 330 departments offering a wide range of products and services, ranging from apparel, electronics, jewelry, sporting gear and bridal trousseaus, to pets and pet accessories, toys, home appliances, furniture and much more. Some of their services include a personal shopping-assistance program known as ‘By Appointment’; a watch repair service; a tailor; a beauty spa and salon; Harrods Bank; private events planning and catering; a wine steward, and custom-made ‘picnic’ hampers, cakes and fragrances. The store also boasts of restaurants that serve everything from high tea, to tapas, to pub food, to haute cuisine (Harrods.com). While it is a luxury retailer, Harrods offers discount vouchers and coupons and holds two sales each year (Winter and Summer). Up to 300,000 customers visit the store on peak days, more than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods. During its sale events, Harrods has been known to take in up to £1 million (US $1.813 million) every hour (Hawkes). Due to strong brand awareness in the U.K market, Harrods does not invest heavily in 6
  7. 7. traditional brand advertising, relying mostly on positive public relations to generate buzz about their events in the news media. However, the store does promote its two annual sales (Winter and Summer) through print ads and outdoor signage on transit media. U.S. Environment Analysis Between 2003 and 2006, the U.S. economy was growing at an average annual rate of about three percent. However, by the end of 2007, real GDP growth slowed to just two percent for the year as the economy was hit the sub-prime mortgage crisis (Cogitamus Consulting, 2008, p.5). Now, the U.S. is suffering from a meltdown in its financial markets as banks and lenders are failing and many American consumers are suffering from credit issues and rapidly falling housing prices. Money is tight, while gas, food and healthcare costs are rising quickly. The Consumer Confidence Index, a monthly report measuring consumer attitudes and optimism about the economy, posted a slight gain from 58.5 in August 2008 to 59.8 in September 2008 (1985=100) but these are preliminary results that did not capture all of the effects of the financial crisis, which occurred mostly in the last 10 days of September. The full impact of the crisis on consumer behavior and expectations will not be known for some time, but experts anticipate that general consumer confidence and retail spending will drop, especially if there are significant job losses (Consumer Confidence Board, September 2008). Such a scenario poses a real threat to Harrods: if affluent shoppers in the Boston area cut back on their spending levels, the success of the U.S. expansion could be significantly jeopardized. However, studies indicate that a few retail channels, such as women’s clothing and specialty apparel stores, have strengthened over recent years as preferred purveyors for specific categories, suggesting a potentially positive outlook for Harrods. Department stores were the first 7
  8. 8. choice for women’s clothing among 29% of shoppers in April 2008, up from 24% in April 2003, and specialty apparel stores were the first choice for 14%, up from 11% in April 2003. The preference for discount stores had been dropping since the April 2003 level of 30%, but ticked up in April 2008, possibly as a harbinger of changes to come. Still, the scenario for a successful luxury department store may not be as bleak as it seems (Cogitamus Consulting, 2008, p. 13). In addition, market research suggests that affluent consumers who might most frequently shop at Harrods are not as affected by the economy as traditional “value shoppers”. Affluent consumers are more likely to say that “I get what I want” because price is unimportant (Brown & Washton, 2007, p.97). America is also seeing a deep socio-cultural trend take root that bodes well for the success of a premium brand like Harrods: massclusivity. More consumers today have access to ‘mass class’ quality goods and services, such as DVD players, iPods, and luxury vacations. As acquisition of such items increases, so does the need for exclusivity and status of a different order. Ordinary consumers, who may not necessarily be considered traditionally affluent, are looking for the kind of ‘members-only’ treatment that visibly sets them apart from the masses and gives them access to privileges most others won't get (Trendwatching, 2003). Massclusivity seems to stem from the increasing level of individuality and customization that today’s consumers have come to express and expect, and may be related to some level of post-9/11 insecurity, which inspires people to enjoy all that they can in the present since the future is uncertain. Either way, this social trend suggests that a premium brand like Harrods will be met with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm by the discerning masses, regardless of economic difficulties, as people increasingly choose to pamper themselves and allow themselves to enjoy the finer things in life. 8
  9. 9. U.S. Industry Analysis The overall U.S. department store industry encompasses approximately 3,300 stores, and has a market size of $90 billion in terms of annual revenues. The industry is highly concentrated among some key players, and the top fifty companies comprise almost 100 percent of industry sales (First Research, 2008). Department stores are differentiated from discount retailers in that they have checkout registers in individual merchandise departments, as opposed to a central checkout area. Department stores carry ‘soft goods’ such as clothing and bedding, as well as ‘hard goods’ such as appliances, furniture and tools. Major products sold at department stores are apparel (50% of sales), cosmetics (10%), appliances (10%), and footwear (7%). Most department stores are located as anchor stores in large malls (First Research, 2008). National and regional chains dominate the department store industry. Essentially, the industry is stratified into three types of department stores: discount, mid-range and luxury. Discount department stores/retailers usually sell products that are not name branded including small household goods, appliances, toys, groceries, electronics and pharmaceuticals. Examples of these stores include K-Mart, ShopKo and Wal-Mart. Mid-range stores such as Belk’s, Macy’s, Dillard’s and J.C. Penney, sell some brand name products but have a greater emphasis on private label brands. Midlevel stores are differentiated from the discount department stores because they also sell tools and furniture. Luxury department stores generally sell designer name branded clothing, which is differentiated as being above average price level. Name brand perfumes, beauty supplies, household goods/appliances and accessories are just some of the products offered as well as specialized services such as personal shoppers, spas & salons, upscale restaurants and concierge services. A 9
  10. 10. few American stores, which fall under this category, include Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Henri Bendel. Over the past few years, however, mall and department store shopping has been seeing a downward trend. Department stores are unable to stand up to discount retailers on price, without compromising on quality of merchandise. Therefore, they have recently begun focusing less on ‘departments’ and more on brands and fashion. As profit margins continue to narrow, the industry has recently increased merger and acquisition activities, such as the merger between Sears and K-Mart, and the acquisition of Marshall Field’s by Macy’s. However, the luxury sector has enjoyed relative success compared to its mid-priced brethren (Business & Company Resource Center, 2008). U.S. Competitor Analysis In the United States, Harrods would compete with the most high-end luxury retailers, such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf-Goodman, Barneys and Henri Bendel. All these retailers are synonymous with upscale retailing in the U.S. and abroad, and are known for their elegant and luxurious designer merchandise and superior services. Neiman Marcus has a national presence and operates two stores in the Boston area, whereas Bergdorf-Goodman has only one flagship store located on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Both are owned and operation by the Neiman Marcus Group. Barneys New York operates across the country, with a flagship store in New York City, and two locations in the Boston area. Henri Bendel, one of Manhattan’s most chic shopping locations, has store locations in New York City, Columbus, OH and Boca Raton, FL. The store’s luxury heritage has been seen as a rite of passage for elite young women for more than one hundred years. Overall, all of these stores are similar to what they offer based on their 10
  11. 11. price levels, uniqueness of products and services, and a luxury experience for the upscale consumer. Since all of our targeted competitors are essentially “the same”, we see as a huge advantage for Harrods in Boston; there is no direct competitor in the United States department store luxury sector that can compete with the international brand power of Harrods, and the extensive variety of luxury products and services that the store offers. Consumer Analysis Boston would be an ideal target market for Harrods’ U.S. location as the demographics suggest that residents would respond favorably to a premium retail brand. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2006), the demographic breakdown of Boston is as follows: the total population is approximately 575,000, consisting of 49% men and 51% women. The median age is 33.6 years old and 19% of the population is between 25 and 34 years old. The ethnic breakdown is predominantly White American (57%), followed by African American (24%) and Asian (8%). The median household income is $50, 476 while the median family income is $55,998. The highest occupational sectors are management, professional and other related occupations, accounting for 44% of the population. 21% of the population has attained a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, Boston adults are 27% more likely than average American adult to have earned a graduate degree (Alpert, 2008, p. 37). In short, from a demographic point of view the Boston population can be classified as relatively young, well-educated, high earning affluent consumers. Additionally, the Northeast region remains among the United States’ most affluent regions, which makes it appealing to marketers in all industries (Alpert, 2008, p. 5-6). Affluent consumers spend more money than the average consumer on apparel and are more likely to buy luxury items in order to stay in tune with the latest fashions. Affluent consumers are less likely to 11
  12. 12. have their shopping behavior influenced by “sales” “bargains” or “specials”, however, the affluent also are highly attracted to various kinds of incentive offers and rebates on product purchases (Brown & Washton, 2007, p.9). By evaluating the lifestyles, hobbies and leisure activities listed in appendix A1, we are able to see that not only is this population a very well-traveled, active and cultured demographic but also that the consumers in the Boston population have a generous disposable income which they spend on a variety of activities, (Lifestyle Market Analyst, 2008, p. 95-96). In general, consumers in the northeast region are more likely than the average American to frequently shop, stay up to date on trends and to plan future shopping trips as depicted in Appendix A2, (Alpert, 2008, p. 61). According to the diagram in Appendix A3 we know that consumers are not brand loyal but they do prefer quality, high-end brands, and to shop at specialty stores, (Alpert, 2008, p. 62). Furthermore, luxury goods are commodities that are enjoyable and consistently purchased by consumers in the Northeast as shown in Appendix A4 and A5, (Alpert, 2008, p. 65). Because of Boston’s urban environment, public transportation accounts for a large majority of noticed ads and therefore there exists an obvious media opportunity to reach the target affluent consumer in a shopping environment, confirmed in Appendix A6, (Alpert, 2008, p. 67). When we evaluate the behavior patterns and intentions of our target audience according to the VALS II system this group of people falls into two categories, the Innovators and the Thinkers. The VALS II system segments the consumer marketplace based on personality traits that drive consumer behavior. Personality traits are the motivation, while buying behaviors are the effects, i.e. observable and actionable behavior. With the Innovators segment, consumers are successful, sophisticated, take-charge people with high self-esteem, receptive to new ideas and technologies; they are very active consumers and their purchases reflect cultivated tastes for 12
  13. 13. upscale, niche products and services. Image is important to these consumers; their lives are characterized by variety and they tend to be established or emerging leaders in business and government. Similarly, with the Achievers segment, consumers are motivated by the desire for achievement; they have goal-oriented lifestyles, a deep commitment to career and family, and value consensus, predictability, and stability over risk, intimacy, and self-discovery. These consumers are active in the marketplace, favor established, prestige products and services and are interested in a variety of timesaving devices. SWOT Analysis Internal Analysis Product Strengths (Harrods) Product Weaknesses (Harrods)  Rich heritage and history, with a  Huge variety of products and services number of unique traditions could be overwhelming to American shoppers  Extensive and unique merchandise  May be unable to provide as broad and selection to appeal to all customers unique a selection as London store due  Synonymous with high-quality to lack of distribution channels and products and services vendors  Magical store experience  Existing relationships with global designers which ensure that merchandise will also be available in the U.S. External Analysis Market Opportunities (Boston) Market Weaknesses (Boston/U.S)  High number of affluent, well-educated  British culture might not translate well and cultured adults who would to Americans appreciate the brand  U.S. economy is unstable and could  Increasing trend towards massclusivity make consumers tighten their purse  Strong retail culture; Americans could strings respond well to the brand and historic  Brand loyal customers may continue to sales shop at local premium retail locations  Deep cultural ties to England, and a  General interest in shopping at strong tourist base to enjoy it department stores on the decline  First venture into foreign territory would mean steep learning curve for Harrods 13
  14. 14. SWOT Strategy Based on this SWOT analysis, it appears that there are three key marketing problems facing Harrods as they consider expansion into the U.S. Firstly, the Harrods concept, product and brand culture would be very unique for the American consumer, so the research would need to define the target Harrods customer. Secondly, there is the question of competitive threats, as consumers could continue being loyal to other luxury retailers and avoid the Harrods brand. Finally, the faltering economy could have an impact on the success of the store; unless it is determined that Boston’s affluent consumers are resilient luxury “Innovators” and “Achievers” whose buying behaviors will remain unchanged despite the economic crisis. In order to address these marketing problems through strategic tactics, we will need to gather specific types of information. We will need to understand the level of awareness, recognition and recall of the Harrods brand among Bostonians, and develop a deeper understanding of our target consumer. This includes their attitudes and consumption patterns regarding department stores and their loyalties to competitor stores. We would also need to determine what impact, if any, the current economic crisis may have our target’s shopping behaviors. 14
  15. 15. IV. Research Objectives Therefore, these will be the specific research objectives of our study:  Examine overall evaluation of Harrods store concept, including likes and dislikes  Investigate evaluation by attributes and store image  Determine purchase intention of Harrods  Profile demographics and psychographics of Harrods target audience  Determine target audience’s attitudes towards and purchasing patterns at department store shopping  Understand level of competitor loyalties, as well as competitor strengths and weaknesses  Determine impact of economic crisis on target audience shopping behavior  Suggest marketing mix strategies and tactics 15
  16. 16. V. Methodology A. Focus Group Interview Participants, Recruitment, and Profile The Harrods Focus Group Interview (FGI) was conducted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at the Emerson College’s FGI room on the 6th floor of the Walker Building. A 25-years-old female, resident of the Boston area and a member of the research group, conducted the interview. All participants were recruited by e-mails and personal requests made by the research group. The participants were 7 women and 4 men, all Boston residents between the ages of 20 and 30; 9 of them were Graduate students: 8 participants were from the Global Marketing Communication and Advertising program of Emerson, 1 was from the Media Arts program of the same school and the rest 2 were working professionals, who were recruited by other participants and the research team. Three out of the 11 participants were non-Americans: 2 from Europe and 1 from Latin America. The 9 graduate students are currently studying in the United States without a job or extra income. The remaining 2 participants work full-time, but for privacy reasons, they were not asked about their income. Procedures The Focus Group Interview was conducted in one session that lasted 45 minutes. At the beginning, food and drinks were offered and a few minutes later the moderator introduced herself, welcomed the participants and explained the procedures. Participants, one after the other, introduced themselves and stated their favorite products to shop for. Right after, the moderator started asking questions. After some basic questions on shopping and departments stores in 16
  17. 17. Boston, participants were shown a video about Harrods. Participants were then asked to evaluate what they saw and to share feelings and thoughts about Harrods. The whole interview was recorded on a tape for result analysis purposes. Key Questions The moderator started by asking participants to share their general attitudes towards shopping at department stores and the main motivations of visiting such stores. The next set of questions was geared towards obtaining information about the competition in the department store market in Boston. Participants were asked to state their favorite department stores, to rank them, and share feelings and perceptions about all the department stores. Then, the moderator asked questions about the participants’ thoughts and perceptions of Harrods. Right after the concept board was shown, participants were asked to evaluate what they saw, to state their intentions on shopping at Harrods, to recommend locations in Boston or the rest of the U.S, to associate Harrods with a celebrity and to give human characteristics to the store. The last part of the FGI consisted of questions about the current economic crisis and its effect on the participants’ shopping behavior. The FGI Transcript is included in the appendix. 17
  18. 18. B. Survey Data Collection Method Each member of the research group was assigned 25 questionnaires and was responsible of recruiting people to fill them out. The questionnaires were administered to family and friends, students and staff of Emerson College and working professionals at an office located in the Boston downtown area. Each participant was asked to sign two consent forms and keep one copy. After the questionnaires were completed they were kept in separate envelopes from the consent forms to ensure that no one could match names and questionnaires. Sampling Method and Samples The sample size is 100. Non-probability volunteer sampling was used, including convenience sampling. The following tables analyze the profiles of our samples: Measures Firstly, the survey measured purchasing patterns and general attitudes towards department stores, and determined external influences on shopping behavior. Moreover, the survey thoroughly analyzed the competition in Boston. After the participants became more acquainted with the brand through the concept board, the survey assessed their overall 18
  19. 19. impression with the brand, their beliefs in certain attributes that are related to the brand, their purchase intention, and their suggestions for store location and promotional tactics. Data Analysis The data was analyzed by using SPSS statistical software. The specific statistical tools that were used included: descriptive statistics – to find the mean scores for all the questions; cross tabulation to compare percentages of answers with respondents’ demographics; and One- Way ANOVA to compare mean scores by demographics among three or four groups. Action Standard Action standard was used in order to determine whether or not Harrods should be introduced to the Boston market. Due to the current negative economic situation in the U.S., the mature stage of the clothing market, and the presence of many established luxury department stores in Boston, the action standard were set very high. Moreover, due to the size of the investment and the company’s inexperience in expanding in foreign markets, the risks are high and the action standard should be such that would leave no room for possible failure. The action standard for Harrods was set to Top 2 Box 70%, Mean Score 3.75. 19
  20. 20. VI. Results A. Focus Group Interviews Perceptions of Department Stores (General) One of the main objectives of the focus group was to gather more qualitative information regarding perceptions of department stores in general. Generally, perceptions and overall attitudes towards department stores were positive. According to responses in the FGI, when asked how participants feel about department stores, the main benefits of shopping at a department store communicated were variety and one-stop shopping. Participant comments include, “I like [department stores]…because there’s so many different choices,” and “It’s a one stop shop and you have different department stores depending on where you are and what you want.” When asked when they shop at department stores, as in time of day, week, or season, participants provided a variety of answers such as: “Only at Christmas time when they have those sales and promotions,” “I prefer small stores that have a focus, like if I know that I want a certain thing I’ll go to the store that has that thing in a variety. I don’t go to department stores,” and “I like to go all year long, in the afternoons, usually during the week. Never during the weekend because it’s too crazy busy. Participants shared common views on what they look for in department stores. Four participants said they look for deals or sales. Favored Department Stores and Potential Harrods Competition This section was intended to provide insights on what attributes determine preference when choosing a department store. When questioned about preferred or favorite department stores, the participants provided a small variety of responses: 4 participants said Macys, 3 participants said Bloomingdales and others mentioned include Sacs Fifth Avenue, Barneys and 20
  21. 21. Nordstrom. Participants elaborated on these choices saying, “Macys because it’s most accessible to me…and it’s what I have at home as well as here in Boston,” “Bloomingdales because I hate snooty sales people and…I find that the staff are actually very friendly and very willing to help younger girls that may just be browsing.” Other participants provided insight into higher end department store shopping in New York saying, “I like Bergdorf Goodman just when I am in New York. I never buy anything there because its way out of my price range…It’s so fun,” and “All the department stores in New York have a special mystique around them and they are always really beautiful.” Perceptions of Luxury Department Stores After previously discussing department stores in general, the questions were more targeted to acquire information about perceptions of luxury department stores in the United States. When asked if there were any luxury department stores that stood out in the United States, participants gave several answers: 4 participants agree that Sacks Fifth Avenue stood out, 2 participants supported Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom were suggested but not supported by others. The moderator prompted the participants to give associations that they had with several stores including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus. Comments for Barneys include: very trendy, museum, celebrity-esque, modern and contemporary. Comments for Bergdorf Goodman include: old lady stuff, old New York, classic yet sometimes tacky. Few participants had heard of Henri Bendel, so that department store was skipped. Comments for Neiman Marcus include: very high end yet poor service (snooty). When asked to rank the stores 1 (most high end) to 4 (least high end), excluding Henri Bendel, participants ranked them: (1) Neiman Marcus, (2) Barneys and (3) Bergdorf 21
  22. 22. Goodman. Perceptions of Harrods Overall, general perceptions by the participants were mixed. Many had heard of Harrods but had never experienced the London based store, a few participants had even been there and had nothing but rave reviews towards it. Negative reactions were mostly based on the initial perception of too expensive or too big. Several participants who had been to London demonstrated their overwhelming negative experience with the store. Harrods was overwhelming, as a few participants did not even want to venture into the store. Reactions such as “I drove by it in London and thought it was too big so I stayed away” and “I’ve been right outside but I don’t think I’ve ever gone inside” were generally discussed. Positive statements included “It’s amazing; it’s actually the best department store of like the world”, “I looks pretty amazing” and “It’s a really extravagant place, like it’s always over the top, like everything, even the displays are so over the to, so extravagant.” After showing the participants the Harrods video concept board, many participants viewed Harrods in a negative light. A few participants thought that they would not be able to shop at his store due to price, or the feelings of being uncomfortable in a luxurious store. Although many were unaware of the store concept and everything the store offered, the video just seemed to make the store out to be too overwhelming and crowded. One participant who had visited the store stated “ yea that’s what I didn’t like about the store it’s so overwhelming, so crowded…every room has like eight staircases that go to each room individually, it is a maze…it was just too much.” Other negative reviews of the store were also seen as reactions to the video concept board. Many participants had a hard time relating why a certain celebrity was being linked to Harrods bi-annual sales. 22
  23. 23. Potential Harrods Consumers In response to the question asked by the moderator, “What celebrity would best represent Harrods?” participants pointed out names including: Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Princess Diana, Prince Harry or William.” These celebrities were mentioned because they exude a sense of glamour, physical attractiveness or wealth. As for many of the responses mentioning non-American actors, one group participant stated that “I got a really over the top feeling…the way a lot of American movies are over the top but they don’t convey the overly conspicuous wealth as much.” The group thought that the typical Harrods (non-celebrity) consumer would be a young or married rich person in their mid 30’s or older. There was a tossup among participants to whether this consumer would be a male or female. One outliner participant, suggested that “it would be someone who is a young professional a famous architect or an art gallery. I associate it with young professionals who are really wealthy, with like private equity types of people.” This comment initiated more topic of conversation including what occupation a Harrods consumer would be. Wall Street was the majority response had by the participants. Harrods in Boston A vast majority of participants agreed that Harrods coming to Boston, in particular would not be a wise choice. Reason for their decisions were based on sheer size of the store, Boston’s lack of glamour, location, too much of a niche market, not enough wealth to support and the uniqueness of the store might be lost opening other locations. Many participants suggested that if Harrods actually came to the United States, that it would be better suited in New York or Los Angeles. Reasoning’s to these other two locations included, “enough people to support the store 23
  24. 24. year round” and “more of a fashion forward city.” Competition was another issue some participants had but it coming to the United States in general, regardless of location. Participants who thought Harrods would better fare in New York, suggested that there is a lot of competition, due to flag ship department stores such as Macy’s. If Harrods were to set their sights on Boston, locations discussed by participants included Chestnut Hill, Copley Place, Newbury Street, and the Prudential Center, some place outside the city and even “Pave over the Common.” Many participants agreed positively that they would shop or go check it out, if Harrods actually came to Boston. When asked by the moderator, what type of person in Boston would shop at Harrods, responses thrown out included, other participants, tourists, people with large disposable incomes, wives of the Rex Sox and Celtics and Theo Epstein. Everyone agreed that people with money was a very high factor for consumers wanting to shop at this store. When the moderator, many participants that the poor state o the economy could affect the way people would perceive and shop at Harrods mentioned the economy if it came to Boston. “Beyond the actual price, it has this image that is very expensive and people immediately are like well were not going to shop at a place that says it’s really expensive.” Responses from the group were unanimous in statements depicting Harrods as, really big, unique and expensive. The participants suggestions for Harrods coming to Boston included good luck, tone it down, buy another chain, sub brand and simply put, don’t come. As one participant stated “Harrods means London.” 24
  25. 25. B. Survey Results (i) General Attitudes Attitudes towards Shopping at Department Stores Respondents showed favorable attitudes towards shopping at department stores overall, with a mean score of 3.70 on the 5-point scale (See Table 1). The results are as follows: like (42%), neutral (28%), strongly like (20%), dislike (8%) and strongly dislike (2%). When surveying attitudes towards shopping at department stores, Females indicated more favorable attitudes towards shopping at department stores (3.82) compared to males (3.39). See Graph 1 below: Attitudes  towards  Department  Store  Shopping   Strongly  Dislike   2%   Dislike   8%   Strongly  Like   20%   Neutral   28%   Like   42%   Graph 1: Attitudes towards Department Stores 25
  26. 26. Motivations for Shopping at Department Stores When surveying motivations for shopping at department stores, respondents selected necessity (57%), seasonal sales (42%), fun (38%), variety (38%), experience (14%) and other (4%). Females are motivated more than males by fun and seasonal sales. See Graph 2 below: Motivations  for  Department  Store  Shopping   60   57   50   42   Total  Responses   38   38   40   30   20   14   10   4   0   Necessity   Seasonal   Fun   Variety   Experience   Other   Sales   Graph 2: Motivations for Department Store Shopping 26
  27. 27. Key Factors that Contribute to Overall Shopping Experience According to survey results, the key factors that contribute to overall shopping experience are as follows: quality of products (84%), price of product (75%), environment/atmosphere of store (50%), variety of merchandise (50%), customer service (49%), ability to return products (40%), décor of store (31%), convenient parking (19%), knowledgeable sales person (17%), warranties (7%) and other (5%) (See Table 3). More females selected environment/atmosphere of store and variety of merchandise than men. See Graph 3 below: Key  Factors  Contributing  to  Overall  Shopping  Experience   90   84   80   75   Total  Responses   70   60   50   50   49   50   40   40   31   30   19   17   20   7   10   5   0   Graph 3: Key Factors Contributing to Experience 27
  28. 28. Most Important Qualities in a Department Store (scale 1 to 6) When surveying consumers it is important to know the most important qualities in department stores and in what preferential order they rank. Ranked from 1 to 6, with one being the most important quality and six being the least important quality, the results (mean scores) are as follows: quality (2.17), price (2.29), variety (2.76), location (3.79), store experience (4.50) and knowledgeable sales person (5.22) (See Table 4). Females found quality and store experience more important than males. Males found price, variety and location more important than females. (ii) Purchasing Patterns Frequency of Shopping at Department Stores The Survey results that indicate the frequency of shopping at a department store per month are as follows: 1-2 times (38%), less than once (34%), 3-4 times (24%), 7+ times (3%), 5- 6 times (1%) (See Table 5). Lower household income levels selected shopping 1-2 times per month more than higher income levels. See Graph 4 below: 28
  29. 29. Number  of  Visits  to  Department  Stores  Per   Month   5-­‐6  times   7+  times   1%   3%   Less  Than   3-­‐4  times   Once   24%   34%   1-­‐2  times   38%   Graph 4: Frequency of Shopping at Department Stores Money Spent at a Department Store per Shopping Trip Survey results indicate the average amounts of money spent at a department store per shopping trip are as follows: $51-$100 (37%), $101-$150 (23%), $0-$50 (19%), more than $200 (12%) and $151-$200 (9%) (See Table 6). Younger demographics spend less money per shopping trip than older demographics. Higher income brackets spend more money than lower income brackets per shopping trip. Preparation Level for Shopping Survey results indicate 49% of respondents say their preparation level for shopping is both impulsive and planned, planned (32%) and impulsive (19%) (See Table 7). Preparation level for males is more planned than females; females tend to be more impulsive. Younger 29
  30. 30. demographics are more impulsive, while older demographics are more planned. Preferred Method of Shopping For preferred method of shopping, survey results indicate in-store (89%) and online (11%) (See Table 8). No respondents selected the other options: home shopping, catalog or other. All brackets of respondents within the gender, age and household income demographics are consistent with in-store as their preferred method of shopping. (iii) Competitive Analysis Favorite Department Store For favorite department store, the results are as follows: Nordstrom (25%), Bloomingdales (13%), Saks Fifth Avenue (8%), Barneys (6%), Neiman Marcus (6%), Bergdorf Goodman (3%), Henri Bendel (1%) and other (38%) (See Table 9). Older demographics favor Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. Younger demographics favor Nordstrom. Loyalty to Favorite Department Store Survey results indicate 62% of respondents said yes, they are not loyal to their favorite department store, while 38% said no (See Table 10). More females are loyal than males. These results are consistent across all brackets of respondents within the gender, age and household income demographics. 30
  31. 31. (iv) External Influences on Shopping Behavior Impact of Economy on Shopping Behaviors The impact of the economy on shopping behaviors is important in deciphering how consumers are affected. According to the survey, results are as follows: generally shopping less (54%), more conscious of the price sticker on items (45%), generally saving more (26%), the economy has not affected the way I shop (23%), shopping less frequently at preferred/favorite retailers (20%), buying fewer premium/name brand items (15%), opting for more store brand items (14%), shopping more frequently at discount retailers/outlet malls and other (2%) (See Table 11). Females impacted more than males in that they are more conscious of the price sticker on items and shopping less frequently at preferred/favorite specialty retailers. (v) Product Concept Evaluation Perceptions of Harrods Based on Concept Board The respondents of the study showed favorable perceptions of Harrods based on the concept board, with the mean score of 4.0 on the 5-point scale and the top 2 box of 71% (See Table 12). The findings passed the action standard of this study, which is a top 2 box of 70% and mean score of 3.75. The results are as follows: like (47%), strongly like (24%), neutral (20%), dislike (7%) and strongly dislike (2%). Females perceived Harrods more favorably than males. Younger demographics and lower household income levels perceived Harrods more favorably than older demographics and higher household income levels. See Graph 5 below: 31
  32. 32. Graph 5: Perception of Harrods Reasons for Liking or Disliking Harrods (Open-Ended Comments) Of the 89 respondents that listed reasons for liking Harrods, the responses were: wide variety (42%), unique experience (23%), glamour (15%), celebrity appeal (4%) and other (16%) (See Table 13). Of the 83 respondents that listed reasons for disliking Harrods, the responses were: expensive (59%), overwhelming (21%), too exclusive (10%) and other (24%) (See Table 14). Perceptions of Harrods Brand Image When surveying consumers it is important to know how consumers perceive the Harrods brand image. The results (means scores) are based on a semantic differential scale of 1 to 7. Respondents perceived Harrods to be expensive (6.42), luxurious (6.42), extensive selection (6.29), high end (6.28) and chic (6.05). To a lesser degree respondents also perceive Harrods to be elegant (5.84), exciting (5.59), welcoming (5.09), contemporary (4.88) and for me (4.49) (See 32
  33. 33. Table 15). Results are consistent within all brackets of the gender, age, household income and marital status demographics. Evaluation of Harrods Store Attributes Respondents evaluated Harrods based on a variety of store attributes. The favorable results are as follows: luxury appeal (4.54), wide variety of products (4.46), exciting shopping experience (4.27), and unique store (4.24). To a lesser degree, respondents also evaluated Harrods as: more to offer than other department stores (3.93), convenient, all in one shopping (3.85), exceeds my expectations for department stores (3.80), offers services I would use (3.00), offers products in my price range (2.72) and department store for everyone (2.34) (See Table 16). See Graph 6 below: Graph 6: Evaluation of Harrods Store Attributes 33
  34. 34. (vi) Purchase Intention Likelihood of Shopping at Harrods Store The respondents of the study are not sure if they would shop at Harrods, with the mean score of 3.24 on the 5-point scale and the top 2 box of 49% (See Table 17). The findings did not pass the action standard of this study, which is a top 2 box of 70% and mean score of 3.75. The results are as follows: somewhat likely (29%), not sure (21%), very likely (20%), somewhat unlikely (15%) and very unlikely (15%). See Graph 7 below: Graph 7: Intent to Purchase at Harrods 34
  35. 35. (vii) Marketing Tactics for Harrods Suggested Store Location for Boston Respondents suggested store locations for a Harrods store location are as follows: Newbury Street (41%), Copley Square (24%), Back Bay (16%), downtown Boston (7%), Brookline (4%), Cambridge (2%) and other (5%) (See Table 18). Older demographics and higher household income levels suggested Back Bay more than younger demographics and lower household income levels. Conversely, younger demographics and lower household income levels suggested Copy Square for a Harrods store location more than older demographics and higher household income levels. Preferred Ways of Gathering Information about Department Stores Survey results indicate that 62% of respondents selected online as their preferred way of gathering information about department store followed by friends and family (46%), television (41%), direct mail (36%), magazines (31%), newspapers (26%), radio (14%), in-store (11%) and other (9%) (See Table 19). Younger demographics and lower income levels prefer television, online and friends and family as a way to gather information more than older demographics and higher income levels. Promotional Tactics that Would Encourage Shopping at Harrods Respondents selected sales (81%) as the promotional tactic that would encourage shopping at Harrods, followed by free gifts with purchase (52%), coupons (39%), advertising (30%), frequent shopper incentives (29%), promotions (17%) and other (5%) (See Table 20). 35
  36. 36. VII. Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions Overall, the Harrods product concept received fairly positive reactions to individual store attributes. Unsurprisingly, the concept of department store shopping and the Harrods brand appealed more strongly to women than men. Survey participants offered high scores to Harrods on its uniqueness, variety, excitement, convenience, luxury, advantage over other stores, and its ability to exceed overall expectations. FGI participants also generally shared the same views. However, participants in both research instruments shared concerns about Harrods. The key barrier for the brand appears to be its inaccessibility – from a brand, price and product perspective. FGI participants were unable to identify the ideal target audience for the store: male or female, old or young; the participants could not agree on who would shop at Harrods, except that that person would have a high income. This could mean that Harrods is indeed for everyone, but it seems more likely that this confusion stems from an unclear perception as to who this brand caters to. Indeed, the high price factor of Harrods appeared to be a major barrier for respondents across both research instruments. Both concept boards, survey and video, conveyed a palpable sense of luxury and expensiveness which excited and intrigued participants, but also made them wonder if they could afford the products at this store. Harrods also came across as overwhelming, which was the number one barrier for survey respondents in the open-ended questions. The number of departments, product lines, and store size made participants feel as though it would be difficult to understand and navigate. Both research instruments revealed that Macy’s had the highest share-of-mind among participants. The experience offered by Macy’s is extremely different from that which Harrods proposes, but 36
  37. 37. offers some insight into what shoppers, at least in Boston, may currently expect or desire from a department store experience. Finally, the participants in both the survey and FGI did not support the idea of Harrods extending into Boston. While there were general concerns about the brand becoming diluted by expanding outside the flagship store in London, Boston was not deemed to be a suitable market; participants suggested that New York City or Los Angeles might be better options, given their sizeable affluent populations and reputations as fashion-forward cities. Additionally, purchase intention scores across all demographics were below the action standard of 3.75, suggesting that Harrods may not be successful if it opened a store in Boston. Recommendations Overall, it appears that Harrods has potential for marketability in the United States since participants in both the FGI and survey appreciated its many individual attributes. While it is a high-priced premium brand, there could be a market here for the luxury it offers. However, the store should not open in Boston due to the low purchase intention expressed by Bostonians in our survey, and the reservations shared by FGI participants. Harrods should instead explore other markets such as New York City and Los Angeles for suitability. If Harrods chooses to expand to the U.S. through another market, it will need to overcome its inaccessibility barrier through its marketing mix and positioning in order to be successful. From a price perspective, Harrods should maintain its premium pricing in order to remain true to its brand positioning as a luxury department store for affluent shoppers. However, the price aspect could be downplayed in the U.S., and other attributes could be emphasized, such as 37
  38. 38. quality, variety and excitement, in order to appeal to the American audience, as their preference for Macy’s indicates a strong interest in variety of merchandise. From a product perspective, Harrods may be better served by not immediately all 330 departments to its first U.S. extension, as that might overwhelm shoppers. The store should start on a somewhat smaller scale, exporting only its most successful departments and services. It may also want to focus less on American designers and products, and carry more European and store- brand products in order to emphasize its foreignness and uniqueness. From a promotions perspective, the store should use Public Relations and events/parties to create buzz about the store. It should also maintain its two annual sales and promote them heavily to affluent shoppers, using targeted media channels such as fashion magazines and the Sunday sections of newspapers, which are read heavily by high-income consumers. Harrods could also consider a bold television campaign to boost brand awareness, and establish its key points of difference with competing department stores. Finally, from a distributions standpoint, as suggested earlier, the store might be more successful in New York City or Los Angeles rather than Boston. Further research should be conducted to establish the ideal market for the store, whether on the east or west coast. In summary, Harrods should be positioned as a luxury and premium department store, targeted towards female shoppers in order to capitalize on the audience that responded most favorably to the brand. Additional research into the ideal age and income brackets would be required to further define this audience. When conducting future research, the researchers of this study offer some recommendations to ensure that the data collected is relevant and stable. Firstly, the sampling methodology for the survey was random and convenient; in the future, we recommend using 38
  39. 39. mall intercepts in order to speak to participants while they are in a shopping frame of mind, as this might produce more accurate results. Researchers could also partner with malls where the intercepts take place and reward participants with discounts at mall stores. Additionally, data could be collected through incentivized participation in an online study, which participants could take when convenient to them. The sampling methodology for the FGI also introduced some biases into the results. Most of the FGI participants were in the 20-30 years age range, students, and with low incomes. Overall awareness of the luxury store category was also low, and the participants ranked Neiman Marcus as the most high end store, rather than Bergdorf Goodman, even though the latter is considered generally more exclusive due to its one store location and designer lines. Thus, it is likely that the response to Harrods was negative because the participants did not accurately represent the target audience for the store from a demographic and “general knowledge” perspective. Additionally, many of the participants knew each other, and the group dynamics were very casual and persuasive, which may have led to biased responses. Finally, in order to overcome the inaccessibility of the Harrods price tag, we recommend providing more information about prices in the concept board, perhaps indicating how much of the store merchandise falls within a certain price range, for example, “50% of products cost between $10 and $100”. This might help provide participants with a better idea of just how costly the store is, and prevent negative biases inherent in a luxury brand. 39
  40. 40. APPENDIX – CONSUMER ANALYSIS DATA A.1 Boston Psychographics (% are of the total Boston population) Source: SRDS Lifestyles Market Analysis 2008 Hobbies & Interests (top 3): 1.) 53.1% donate to charity, 2.) 20.8% Crafts, 3.) 20.6% Home Workshop Lifestyles (top 3): 1.) snow skiing frequently, 2.) own a Mac, 3.) foreign travel Home life (top 3): 1.) shop by catalog/mail 45.1%, 2.)avid book reading 38.7%, 3.) flower gardening 28.7% Good life (top 5): 1.) travel in U.S. 36.2%, 2.) frequent flyer 35.7%, 3.) wines 24.6%, 4.) gourmet cooking/fine foods 24.4%, 5.) foreign travel 24.3% Sports/Fitness/Health (top 3): 1.) physical fitness/exercise 41.6%, 2.) watching sports on tv 37%, 3.) walking for health 34.9% A.2 Shopping Attitudes and Behaviors: Northeast Region, 2007 (U.S. adults) General Category……………………………………………# (000), % of Regional Total, Index Use the Internet to Help Plan Shopping Trips* .................. 7,971, 18.1%, (Index 115) When I Shop I Visit a Variety of Stores .............................. 21,622, 49.1%, (Index 112) Keep Up With Changes in Styles and Fashions ................ 13,157, 29.9%, (Index 111) Would Pay More for Environmentally Friendly Products .... 18,087, 41.0%, (Index 111) Buy Products That Use Recycled Paper ........................... 16,882, 38.3%, (Index 110) Often Go Out of My Way to Find New Stores .................... 3,909, 8.9%, (Index 107) Really Enjoy Any Kind of Shopping ................................... 12,063, 27.4%, (Index 106) Tend to Spend Long Periods of Time in Store Browsing ... 14,017, 31.8%, (Index 106) Usually the First Among Friends to Shop at New Store .... 4,693, 10.6%, (Index 105) A.3 Shopping Attitudes and Behaviors: Northeast Region, 2007 (U.S. adults) Brand Behavior Category……………………………………………# (000), % of Regional Total, Index Prefer Shopping at Specialty Stores Because They Tend to Carry More Brands .................................... 10,483, 23.8%, (Index 109) Change Brands Often for Variety/Novelty .......................... 8,987, 20.4%, (Index 108) Prefer Shopping at Specialty Stores Because They Tend to Carry the Best Brands ............................... 10,194, 23.1%, (Index 108) Always Look for Brand Name ............................................ 15,794, 35.8%, (Index 104) Don't Buy Unknown Brands to Save Money ...................... 16,382, 37.2%, (Index 104) 40
  41. 41. A.4 Apparel-Related Attitudes and Behaviors: Northeast Region, 2007 (U.S. adults) General Category……………………………………………# (000), % of Regional Total, Index Everything I Wear Is the Highest Quality* .......................... 13,453, 30.5%, (Index 115) Spend More Than Can Afford for Clothes ......................... 6,107, 13.9%, (Index 111) No Longer Wear the Clothes I Wore a Year Ago ............... 5,859, 13.3%, (Index 110) Really Enjoy Clothes Shopping ......................................... 14,501, 32.9%, (Index 102) A.5 Apparel-Related Attitudes and Behaviors: Northeast Region, 2007 (U.S. adults) Fashion & Brands Category……………………………………………# (000), % of Regional Total, Index Budget Allows Me to Buy Designer Clothes ...................... 6,457, 14.7%, (Index 118) Fashion Magazines Help Determine Clothes Buy ............. 5,957, 13.5%, (Index 113) Designer Label Improves Person's Image ......................... 5,934, 13.5%, (Index 113) Every Season I Buy the Latest Fashions ........................... 6,008, 13.6%, (Index 112) Am First Among My Friends to Try New Styles ................. 4,823, 10.9%, (Index 112) Have Surprised Myself by Buying Brands I Normally Don't ............................................................... 13,597, 30.9%, (Index, 111) Top Designers Make Quality Clothes ................................ 11,659, 26.5%, (Index 110) A.6 Media- and Technology-Related Attitudes and Behaviors: Northeast Region, 2007 (U.S. adults) Advertising Category……………………………………………# (000), % of Regional Total, Index Often Notice the Ads on Trains.....................................8,515, 19.3% (Index 175) Often Notice the Ads on Taxis .....................................6,015, 13.6%, (Index 123) Often Notice the Ads on Buses ....................................10,094, 22.9%, (Index 122) Often Notice the Ads at Bus Stops ...............................7,808, 17.7%, (Index 122) **Index can be read as the percentage that consumers from the Northeast region are more or less likely to do something than the average U.S. consumer with 100 representing the Average U.S. index. 41
  42. 42. APPENDIX – FGI DISCUSSION GUIDE APPENDIX – FGI DISCUSSION GUIDE “Good evening everyone. My name is Stacey and I will be moderating this focus group discussion today. I would like to thank all of you for coming today. Thank you. Today’s discussion is going to revolve around the general topic of shopping and then we will go more specifically into department store shopping. I urge all of you to speak your minds, as all of your opinions are very important to us. There is no right or wrong answer. We will be will be recording the session to prevent loss of information however everything you say will be kept confidential. So let’s begin with introductions and possibly everyone say what their favorite thing to shop for is. So, I will start, my names is Stacey and my favorite thing to shop for is accessories like purses and stuff. 1. In general, do you feel about department stores? 2. When do you do shopping at department stores, as in time of week, or months, or time of day? 3. When you go to department stores, what do you look for? 4. Are all department stores are the same? 5. What are your favorite department stores? And why? 6. Do you think there is a luxury department store that stands out among department stores in the United States? 7. Tell me if you’ve heard of these stores (writes Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf- Goodman, and Henri Bendel on the board) a. If we were going to rank these stores from one to four, with one being the most high end, and four the least, what would you rank as number one? 42
  43. 43. 8. Have any of you heard of Harrods? 9. If so, please share thoughts or perceptions or any information you know regarding Harrods? 10. Okay, now we’re going to watch a video about Harrods on that screen. a. Now that you’ve seen the video, what do you think of Harrods? How about those of you who had not heard of it before? 11. If Harrods was a celebrity, who would Harrods be? Who could represent Harrods? 12. If you were going to pretend Harrods was just a regular person not a celebrity, how would you describe Harrods? Would it be male or female? How old would they be? What would be their occupation? 13. Do you think that Harrods would be successful if it came to Boston? 14. Where do you think the best location in Boston would be? 15. Would you shop at Harrods if it came to Boston? 16. What type of person in Boston would shop at Harrods? 17. As far as the economy goes, do you feel that the poor state of the economy could affect the way people perceive and shop at Harrods? 18. Do you have suggestions for Harrods if they decide to come to Boston? Well that’s all, thanks for participating! 43
  44. 44. APPENDIX – FGI TRANSCRIPT Moderator: Good evening everyone. Participant A: Good evening. Moderator: My name is Stacey and I will be moderating this focus group discussion today. I would like to thank all of you for coming today. Thank you. Today’s discussion is going to revolve around the general topic of shopping and then we will go more specifically into department store shopping. I urge all of you to speak your minds as all of your opinions are very important to us. There is no right or wrong answer. We will be will be recording the session to prevent loss of information, however, everything you say will be kept confidential. So, let’s begin with introductions and possibly everyone say what their favorite thing to shop for is. So, I will start, my name is Stacey and my favorite thing to shop for is accessories, like purses and stuff. Participant A: My name is Ailyn and my favorite thing to shop for is shoes. Participant B: My name is Anita and my favorite stuff to buy is t-shirts and shoes. Participant C: My name is Yeray Carratero and my favorite stuff to buy is t-shirts. Participant D: My name is Lauren and my favorite things to buy are shoes and dresses. Participant E: My name is Lynsi and my favorite thing to shop for is shoes. Participant F: Brian, and my favorite thing to shop for is ties. Participant G: Jill and makeup. Participant H: Gina, makeup also. Participant I: Ally and tops. Participant J: Are we talking clothes here? Moderator: Yeah just whatever. Participant J: I would say books then. Participant K: Mike and outer wear, jackets. Moderator: You and Marie are similar. This is Marie’s brother by the way. All Participants: Ohh, hi. 44
  45. 45. Moderator: Alright, so let’s talk about department stores. In general, what do you guys think about department stores? How do you feel about department stores? Participant E: I like them. Moderator: You like them, can you elaborate on that? Participant E: Yes I can, because there are so many different choices you can get house wares, bedding, all that good stuff. Moderator: Variety. Participant A: It’s a one stop shop for whatever you need…it’s a one stop shop and you have different department stores depending on where you are and what you want. Moderator: When do you do shopping at department stores, as in like time of week, or months or time of day? Just when do you like to go? Participant H: Only at Christmas time when they have those sales and promotions and stuff and I can get everything for my mom and my sister and stuff. Moderator: Okay, so why not during the rest of the year? Participant H: I prefer small stores that have like a focus, like if I know that I want a certain thing I’ll go to the store that has that thing in a variety. I don’t go to a department store. Moderator: Anyone else? Participant D: I go to department stores all the time. I was at one today actually on my day off. I like to go all year long, in the afternoons, usually during the week. Never during the weekend because it’s too crazy busy. Moderator: When you guys go to department stores what do you look for? Participant G: Deals. Participant E: Deals. Participant D: Yeah deals. Participant I: The sale things that are like 30% off or whatever. Moderator: Anything else. Participant D: Purses. 45
  46. 46. Participant A: I like to see what is in fashion now. I read magazines and that sort of stuff but then I want to see what’s in the stores because if they have designer brands what do they offer. Moderator: So, are all department stores are the same? I mean do you go to some more for style some more for variety some more for quality? Participant E: I typically only go to one just because. Moderator: Which is? Participant E: Macy’s, because I don’t usually go into Saks or Bloomingdales…is Bloomingdales in the Pru? But I don’t usually go into the department in the Pru, if I go to the Pru I go into stores and Macy’s at home. Moderator: What’s the Pru? Participant E: The Prudential Center, sorry I’ve lived in Boston for awhile. Moderator: So since you discussed Macy’s, what are your favorite department stores? And why? Participant D: Bloomingdales…100%. Participant A: Bloomingdales. Participant E: Macy’s . Participant G: Macy’s. Participant J: Macy’s. Participant I: Macy’s. Moderator: Bloomingdales, Macy’s, any others? Participant D: Saks is good. Participant A: Barneys. Participant K: Nordstrom. Moderator: Nordstrom. Participant D: Yeah Barneys is good. Moderator: Okay, you guys are good. 46
  47. 47. Researcher: (on intercom) Um Stacey, we have the room for awhile so take your time getting people to answer questions, feel free to elaborate as much as you can. All participants: (laughing) Participant E: Okay, I will elaborate on that. Macy’s because it’s most accessible to me at least and it’s what I have at home as well as here in Boston. Participant D: Bloomingdales because I hate snooty sales people and I found you get that a lot at Saks. I experienced that yesterday and I hate that more than anything and Bloomingdales I find that the staff are actually very friendly and very willing to help younger girls that may just be browsing. Participant H: I like Bergdorf Goodman just when I am in New York. I never buy anything there because it’s way out of my price range, hopefully someday it will be in my price range but I really like, they have an entire basement that is all makeup counters and all these gay guys that spritz you with perfume constantly as you walk by. It’s so fun. Participant A: Actually all the department stores in New York have a special mystique around them and they always are really beautiful, and Barneys looks like a museum. Like you go there and there’s nothing to touch and nothing accessible but it’s beautiful just to go there. Participant H: You can look at the windows. Moderator: Do you guys think, because you touched on some of the higher end department store, do you think there is a luxury department store that stands out among department stores in the United States? Participant D: Saks, I’d say. Participant E: I would agree. Participant A: Because it’s everywhere mostly. Participant D: I would say more than Bloomingdales. Participant H: What do you guys think about Lord & Taylor? Participant E: I don’t think that’s luxury. Participant I: It’s not…I’d say Saks. Participant D: Nordstrom maybe or Neiman Marcus. Participant A: Neiman Marcus is high end. 47
  48. 48. Participant G: But it’s just like different prices. It’s pretty much the same thing, pretty much the same layout, same design. It’s just more price ranges like Saks is obviously more expensive, Macy’s is more accessible. I don’t think as far as amenities it really stands out. Moderator: Okay, some of you guys have mentioned some of these, so we are going to right them on the board and go over it. Tell me if you’ve heard of these stores. (writing on the board) Researcher: (on intercom) Uh guys, can you um, refrain from speaking over one another because that’s going to be really hard when we’re doing the transcribing. Participant E: I’m sorry Zeenat, we just really into it. Participant A: But this is a focus group. Participant D: We’re just trying to give you as much information. Participant E: Should we raise our hands for you. Participant I: Is this part getting transcribed? Participant E: Would you prefer us raising our hands? Moderator: No it’s fine. So if you’ve heard of these stores, kind of throughout, starting with this one, sort of some things that you associate with it. Barneys. Or think of when you hear Barneys? Participant D: Very trendy. Participant A: I feel like the New York one is like a museum. Participant D: It’s like celebrity-esque, lots of celebrities shop there. I see Katie Holmes. I always see her. Moderator: Anything else for Barneys? Participant D: It’s like modern and contemporary. Participant A: Yeah, I associate the buyer, what’s the name of this guy, well whatever there’s a celebrity buyer for Barneys. Participant D: Oh yes, oh my god yeah…(thinking). Moderator: Okay what about moving on to Bergdorf Goodman? Participant H: Actually the other floors that I don’t normally go to too much, they have a lot of old lady stuff, like really expensive, old lady jewelry. 48
  49. 49. Participant A: It’s like old New York. Participant H: It’s a little bit more either classic or a little more tacky old lady. Moderator: What did you say? Participant H: I said tacky but also sometimes really classic. Moderator: Okay. Participant H: It depends on what season it is and what they’ve got out. Moderator: Anything else? How about, besides Gina has anyone here been to Bergdorf? Participant A: The food is really is really good. Moderator: Okay, I just was thinking because I have been there and I don’t remember a food court which is why it took me a second. What about Henri Bendel? Has anyone heard of it or been there? Participant E: I’ve heard of it but I’ve never been there. I think I’ve read about it in books. Moderator: Okay we’ll skip that one. What about Neiman Marcus? Participant D: Very high end. Participant H: I think of the cookie story. The woman who went there and asked for the recipe of their cookies and they charged her $275 for the recipe and she was outraged and so she copied the recipe and sent it to everybody she knew in New York and now every body has the recipe. So they were really snooty and treated her badly. So that’s what I think of. Participant D: They don’t greet you nice either, if you don’t walk in, in like Prada shoes, forget it. Participant E: I’m not going to walk in there. Moderator: So if we were going to rank these 1-4, with one being the most high end, four the least, what would you rank number one? Participant E: I’m going to guess Henri Bendel. Participant I: That’s because there is only one store. Bendel only has that store in New York. They tried to expand and they failed. Moderator: No, it’s owned by Limited Brands and they have one in Columbus as well and other places in the country. 49
  50. 50. Participant A: Oh I thought they were broke and the other places, they closed them up. Moderator: So how many people would vote Barneys as the most high end? Participant D: I don’t know. Participant H: Neiman Marcus. Participant F: Neiman Marcus. Moderator: Can you all raise your hand for something…I’m just going to say Neiman Marcus because that’s the only one anyone really acknowledged. Participant E: Can Henri Bendel be out of this since no one has been there, so the top three? Moderator: Yeah, top three. Participant A: Barneys two. Participant H: Barneys is two, and Bergdorf is three. Participant K: Do they sell stuff for males at Bergdorf…I just think female. Moderator: Yes, they have a full…they’ll have like a floor for like Louis Vuitton and it will be in sections. It’s all men’s in one part. Participant A: In New York they have the women’s on one side and the men’s on the other side of the street. Moderator: Have any of you guys heard of Harrods? Participant D: Yes, best store ever! Participant E: (raises hand yes, I have) Participant A: Yes. Participant B: Yes. Moderator: If so, please share thoughts or perceptions or any information you know regarding Harrods? Participant D: It’s amazing; it’s actually the best department store of like the world. Moderator: Have you been there? 50
  51. 51. Participant D: Like a million times. It’s amazing. I love it. The food galleries are insane. There’s like, how many, floors like 9 floors? Participant A: I got lost in it. Participant C: Yeah me too. Participant A: It was too much. Participant D: The best way to describe it…there is an entire floor dedicated to accessories and clothing for your dog, like over $200 for, like an entire floor. Participant H: Like a whole or a half? Participant D: It’s a huge section, have you ever seen a whole floor for your dog, but the food galleries are the best. Participant C: its excessive luxury things. Moderator: Excessive luxury. Okay, has anyone heard of it but not been there? Participant I: Yeah. Participant k: I drove by it in London and thought it was too big so I stayed away. Participant e: I’ve been right outside but I don’t think I’ve ever gone inside. It’s very pretty in the winter time though for Christmas. Moderator: Okay, now we’re going to watch a video about Harrods on that screen. So you might want to turn and face and enjoy. Video playing Moderator: Okay, so now that you’ve seen the video, what do you think of Harrods? For those of you who haven’t heard of it before? Participant G: It looks pretty amazing, is that the only store? Moderator: Yes, there’s only one store. Participant E: Do you know when the sales are? Moderator: I think post Christmas and then summer. Participant I: It looks pretty cool. I don’t think I would be going there. None of these came to mind as places I would go. I just like the Macy’s and like lower end I guess. 51
  52. 52. Participant H: It’s too crowded. Participant G: Especially at the sale time, it reminds me of Christmas time when they all rush the doors. Participant C: But when you get there when it’s not in sale, it was not crowded at all; it was kind of different but not crowded. Moderator: For those of you who have been there, does that video reflect the experience you had when you were there? Participant D: Yeah it does, it’s a really extravagant experience, like it’s always over the top, like everything, even the displays are so over the top, so extravagant. Participant A: Yeah that’s what I didn’t like about the store, it’s so overwhelming, so crowded, even if there’s not a lot of people, every room there is like 8 staircases that go to each room individually. It’s a maze, you can go up or down the stairs to any side or the middle of the building and there is this huge Egyptian whatever that you see and opera music all over the place. So it was too much. Participant J: I thought it was interesting because the opera music sounds like it would fit better with what we were seeing. There was weird techno music playing in the background and I wasn’t entirely sure of what the store is supposed to be. Participant H: Like why Christina Aguilera? That just didn’t seem to fit for me. I mean Cher understandable but not Christina Aguilera. That just didn’t seam to make sense to me. Participant E: Well, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Participant D: I think the best person that fits with that is Victoria Beckham. Participant A: Posh yeah. Participant D: (continued) Is the person I’d have to say fits the most with that. Participant G: And also if they had Sophia Loren, maybe. Participant A: Yeah maybe. Moderator: Did anyone’s perceptions change from what they heard from anyone? Participant G: I just feel like it wouldn’t be like, kind what Aly said, I feel that I would feel really uncomfortable and be like ahhh I shouldn’t be in here I cant afford anything. 52
  53. 53. Moderator: After seeing that, just out of curiosity, does anyone feel that they have heard of the brand now that they have seen the video? Participant G: Yeah I have actually, because of that VH1 show. Participant A: Oh the fabulous life. Participant G: They always talked about what Harrods did for a celebrity. Like they did weird things for all of them. Moderator: So you mentioned Victoria Beckham, so that’s kind of where we are heading with this. If Harrods was a celebrity, who would Harrods be other than Victoria Beckham? Who could represent Harrods? Participant G: Who’s that’s guy that plays James Bond now? Moderator: Pierce Brosnan. Participant J: Daniel Craig. Participant A: Maybe a Katie Holmes type of girl. Participant C: Princess Diana. Participant E: Yeah Prince Harry or William. Moderator: Do you know that the Al-Fayeds own Harrods. Participant D: Yeah the guy his father, Dodi. Participant C: Yeah because I think she is very pretty and glamorous, that’s what Harrods is. Participant J: Yeah I got a really over-the-top feeling and I don’t feel that even with a bunch of the way a lot of American movies are over the top they don’t convey the overly conspicuous wealth as much. Participant C: Maybe Rania the queen, this girl is kind of Princess Diana right now. Moderator: If you were going to pretend Harrods was just a regular person not a celebrity, how would you describe Harrods? Would it be male or female? How old would it be? Occupation? If you were to personify it? Participant I: I would say like mid 30s, rich. Participant F: Young and married to a rich old guy. 53
  54. 54. Moderator: So it would be female. Participant D: I don’t think so. Participant I: So this is just my opinion even though I have never been there, yeah I would just say mid 30s rich, doesn’t have a job, housewife type. Participant J: Yeah. Participant D: I disagree; I think it would be someone who is young professional a famous architect or like a director or an art gallery. I know that is random, I just associate it with young professionals, with really, really wealthy like private equity type of people. Moderator: So we can agree on female, young? Participant C: I don’t think young. I would think like 40 but seems like 20. Moderator: Young at heart……what would the occupation be as Harrods as a person? Participant K: Wall Street. Participant D: Yeah Wall Street. Participant K: Wall Street last year. Participant A: Wall Street before the summer. Moderator: Ok so let’s talk about Harrods coming to Boston, do you think that Harrods would be successful if it came to Boston? Participant G: No. Participant D: No. Participant J: I think it’s overly glamorous. Participant H: Too big for the population and the tourists that come here. Participant G: I kind of agree that it wouldn’t really work because one, the reason that Harrods is so special is that there is only one store. There is nothing else like it in the world and so to like open another store especially, not in New York, would be to dilute it a little bit, being like ohhhh its not as fantastic and anymore. Participant E: I think it would have a total niche market, it would be out near Bloomingdales near Chestnut Hill and you don’t get a lot of traffic there anyway. 54
  55. 55. Participant H: The huge thing about Harrods is that a lot of tourists go there too, so it’s a combination of people in London which have a lot more people than Boston and tourists. And the tourists who come to Boston, come for a totally different experience than those who are going to London. Participant J: I don’t really get glamour from Boston and that seems to be what they are going for. Participant F: More New York and L.A. Participant K: I don’t think there are enough wealthy people here. I mean there are wealthy people here but not enough to support it year round compared to New York. Participant D: London is like the fashion capital of the world. It’s in Europe, if you bring it to the States it kinds of degrades it one level, like you’re not talking about Europe anymore. Participant H: It might work in New York. Participant J; Yeah, yeah New York seems a better place. Participant G: But I think there is a lot of competition in New York, like the Macy’s flagship is huge there and like Saks. Like most of the flagship stores are in New York. Moderator: So just a show of hands, how many people think that it might work in New York? All Participants: Hands raised (except Participants C and D) Moderator: If they were going to bring Harrods to Boston anyways, make a go of it, where do you think the best location in Boston would be? Participant E: Chestnut Hill. Participant J: Pave the Common. Participant A: Yeah they need a big space. Moderator: Why Chestnut Hill? Participant E: Because I mean you have a lot of people with money who live towards that area and I mean right now that’s where a lot besides Newbury Street and Prudential Center, I mean that’s where you have a lot of boutiques, a lot of higher class stores. Participant A: I also think it has to be some place out of the city because of the size its going to need, in the city its going to be really hard to find a space so big but it would be more profitable for them to be in like Copley Place. 55
  56. 56. Participant C: Yeah I think if you take Harrods out of the city, it’s not Harrods. Participant D: That’s what I think. Participant J: I think if you did something interesting like put it on the top of one of the taller buildings in Boston that might I don’t know, I just think that would be interesting. Moderator: Would you guys shop there if it came to Boston? Participant G: Would their prices drop? Participant D: Yes. Participant H: No. Moderator: Would you guys go there? Participant E: You would probably go there to check it out. Participant A: Yeah. Participant G: Yeah. Participant E: If you go once and the prices are astronomical, you wouldn’t go. Participant D: I would go to the food gallery, and you guys should go too. Participant C: I would go there to buy a bookmark. Participant A: The one time I went was to check out the store because I was in London but I would never check it out again. Moderator: Alright, what type of person in Boston would shop at Harrods? Group response: Lauren. (Participant D) Moderator: Can you elaborate on that? Participant I: A person with a large disposable income. Participant F: Some tourists would. Participant E: Wives of the Red Sox players. Participant F: Theo Epstein. 56
  57. 57. Participant A: Yeah that’s the perfect guy. Participant D: Or the wives of the Celtics. Moderator: So basically people with money. Participant E: People with money. Group Response: Yeah. Participant C: If you don’t have money you won’t shop there because it’s out of your price range. Participant A: Yeah it’s like $20 per thing. Moderator: As far as the economy goes, do you feel that the poor state of the economy could affect the way people perceive and shop at Harrods? Group Response: Yes. Participant J: Beyond the actual price, it’s got this image that is “we are really expensive” and people immediately are like, well we’re not going to go to a place that says it’s really expensive. Moderator: So the first thing that stands out to you guys is, if I said that it’s unique, really big or expensive, the first thing you would say is? Participant K: Really big. Participant C: I think unique. Participant D: Yeah unique. Participant I: Yeah unique. Participant J: Expensive. Participant E: Expensive. Participant D: I mean they have lines there that are really expensive but a lot of the lines are similar, I mean these stores (points to stores up on board) are expensive but it’s not any much more than I would say Barneys or Neiman Marcus. Participant C: I mean it’s really expensive but you can find something to buy there if you want, but it’s an experience to go there. Moderator: Because I have never been there, do you think when you have been to the Knightsbridge store, is it expensive in comparison to the other stores there, or is it expensive in 57
  58. 58. comparison to American stores? Because I know the Macy’s there is more expensive than the Macy’s here, is it because it’s in England or because it’s more expensive? Participant C: No, no I think because it’s expensive not because it’s in England. I mean because there is a Zara and a Gap on that street, its not because its in England, it’s that kind of shop is really for the world. Moderator: Do you guys have suggestions for Harrods if they were going to come to Boston? Participant I: Good luck. Participant A: Tone it down. Participant E: Don’t come. Moderator: Don’t come. Participant J: Buy another chain. Participant H: Yeah but if they tone it down that would be bad for them in general so… Participant A: Yeah Participant D: They could come under a different name, like if they sub branded. They definitely need to downsize I think because there’s not enough room or population to sustain that kind of store. Participant C: I think it’s not a good idea to bring the store here. Participant J: Yeah it’s not a good idea. Participant C: Because it’s like Harrods. Harrods means London and you can’t put it in Boston, its not its not like I mean is people go there to buy a small box of poopy you know there is like a small box , all of the people try to go there and just buy something to have this box. Participant E: Yeah people buy something just to carry around the bag, just carry on the name; it’s like moving Cheers to… Participant A: Like a puppy? Participant C: Yeah like a stupid face dog….whatever people go there and are like oh just bring me something (from Harrods) and get 10 things for 20 pounds which is so expensive just because its Harrods. Moderator: Well that’s all, thanks for participating! 58