Parameters for participation


You must submit the buying & merchandising assessment as an individual report submission. However, since Debenhams have provided a specific brief (see below, layered over the academic one), you will simultaneously work in the agreed groups to research, collate your findings and recommendations and submit a group presentation. The best two will be selected to present back to Debenhams and they will select the winning group. The presentation should be delivered using PPT, consumer profile boards, Trend boards, Colour Boards, Shape boards, Range plans, merchandising spreadsheets and any other visual aids to enhance it. Each group will have 20mins to present, with 5mins for questions. You are marked on the individual report submission only.  Formative feedback will be provided to the groups on their presentations, this should enhance your own individual report.

Brief: Background information


Designers at Debenhams

The designer ranges at Debenhams are exclusive. Debenhams works with the most prestigious designers to offer its customer an affordable, desirable collection from their favorite designer.

Designer at Debenhams: Principles by Ben De Lisi

The brief


You are asked to review the S/S17 collection, the trends that were forecast (WGSN) for the season and, from your research into the target consumer, competitors and Brand Profile (Brand DNA) ‘design’ a 12 piece collection for 8 weeks sales from 27th February 2017 to meet a gap in the current offering:


Market Position and Target Customer: – Market Research Orientation

  • Who is the core Principles consumer, how does she differ from other Debenhams consumers? Is she coming in store to buy or arriving on the mat by default?  Which other brands in Debenhams does she shop?
  • What is she looking to buy in to at Principles? what does she expect from the collection? How does she position the brand on quality / price / fashionability?
  • What is her price sensitivity?  Your research will unlock her buying behaviours, lifestyle, job roles and her consumer profile.
  • What constitutes the Brand DNA? what aspects of the Brand resonate with loyal consumers?  How does the current collection appeal to new consumers?
  • What does she like about the Debenhams shopping experience?  How does she rate he changing rooms?  Staff support?
  • Where does she take her fashion references from?  Who are her style icons? Is she active on Social media?  Does she buy on-line?  How often?  What are her drivers for fashion items?

  • How would she describe her fashion style Feminine / Chic Staples / Contemporary / Colourful & Bold / Effortless elegance / iconic pieces / Timeless / Other…
  • How would she describe her wardrobe?  Organized / Eclectic / up to date / co-ordinated /
  • How does she separate her clothing needs?  Is it one wardrobe that she mixes and matches across all needs?  Does she buy separate ‘Occasion wear’?  ‘Smart wear’?  ‘Work wear’? And ‘Casual wear’?
  • What does an occasion mean to her?  What would instigate buying a new outfit? What are her key ‘buying an outfit’ dates in her diary?
  • What are her attitudes to refreshing her wardrobe?  Is she interested in Colour in her wardrobe?  How does she buy into print? What does ‘newness’ mean to her?
  • What do Principles consumers think about the quality offered? Pricing? Fashionability?
  • What are her spending priorities?
  • How have the Principle shopper consumer habits changed over last 2 years – is she buying less frequently?  More frequently? Buying in at lower price points?  Higher? About the same? Has her spend on clothing per month gone down / gone up / stayed the same?
  • If she has to economise in her monthly budget where does she make savings?  Food / Bills / Holidays / Going out / Clothing /  Cosmetics / Gift Buying / Kids treats?
  • What does the consumer like / dislike about the collection? What is missing?

From your collective research in to the consumer, you will then in your Debenhams groups identify:-

  • What fashion trends should the brand have embraced for S/S17?  Make sure these are relevant to the consumer.
  • What are the critical factors of improvement across product & price to stimulate growth of the brand at Debenhams?


  • To identify any gaps or weakness.
  • What are the opportunities?
  • Define a potential USP.

Sales Plan

  • S/S 17 sales plan. What plan would you present for 12 styles, on 8 weeks sale from 27th February 2017 with a turnover of £1.6m in 74 stores, including on-line.

Buy Plan

  • How would you plan the category mix? Give reasons for your amendments to current category mix.
  • Current S/S category mix breakdown (see below)
  • Target gross margin 67%
  • 74 stores-

   1 x Internet / Direct

 12 x  XXL & XL stores

 16 x Large Stores

 15 x Medium stores

 13 x Small Stores

 17 x XS & XXS stores

Merchandising Reports & Analysis


  • Propose a product category mix and justification if differs / change from above
  • 12 weeks sales forecast, show depth and width of range and intake margin.
  • Planned stock based on 4 weeks cover
  • WSSI showing 2 weeks mark down weeks 9 &10.
  • 75% full price sales
  • 2% terminal stock
  • asp = £41


Store sales mix:
Internet / Direct    = 14%

 XXL & XL stores  = 24%

 Large Stores        = 19%

 Medium stores     = 17%

 Small Stores        = 14%

             XS & XXS stores = 12%

Data provided by Merchandise Manager on the Department  02/17 CONFIDENTIAL



TOPS 39.0%
JKTS 2.0%
TOTAL 100%

Your report structure should cover as a minimum:-

  • Executive Summary 1 page (outside of word count, summarizing your report findings) own work
  • Table of Contents (outside of word count)  own work
  • Summary Introduction to Debenhams, the Brand and Brief and report objectives own work
  • Research Methodology, Secondary sources / Primary sources / Research Limitations  own work
  • Research Findings and Analysis
  • By research method, to identify the consumer / competitors / market position own work
  • Consumer profile + visual, pen portrait  positioning grid, pricing matrix / Brand Profile, group work
  • Provide a summary of trends SS17 + Trend Board / Colour Board / Shape Board / Shape ‘Look Book’ for Flats mix of own work analysis and group work visuals
  • Review of current SS17 range, category mix own work
  • Analysis own work
  • Review of the 35+ consumer-  consumer behaviour / Lifestyle – strong focus on her work and her social engagements / Fashion occasions / impact of macro-environment and how the Principle consumer shops, her reference points, what she looks for from the brand and where else she shops  – group work
  • SWOT analysis to identify market gap  own work
  • Conclusions  own work
  • Recommendations
  1. Principles strengths of the Brand Profile group work
  2. SS17 Proposed Range Plan  group work
  3. Buy Plan group work
  4. Proposed Product Category Mix group work
  5. Proposed 12 weeks sales forecast group work
  6. Colour and Size allocations group work
  7. Proposed Planned deliveries and weeks cover group work
  8. WSSI including 2 weeks markdowns group work
  9. Analysis and explanations of all above own work

  •  Overall Conclusions  own work
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices
  1. Questionnaire template and findings
  2. Other research findings…
  3. Review of the Principles consumer loyalty to the brand Handwriting / Brand DNA / reference points / what resonates with her.

  1. Etc…


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