Read the text below and answer the questions. It has to be between 450 to 600 words, including references.
Headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, TJX Companies is a discount apparel and home fashions retailer in the United States and abroad. The company owns T.J. Maxx, Marmaxx, Home Goods, TJX Canada, TJX Europe, and Sierra Trading Post—operating in total more than 4,000 stores in 9 countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia. TJX’s annual sales and profits are increasing nicely. Operations today include 1,219 TJ Maxx, 1,057 Marshalls, 660 HomeGoods, 26 Sierra Trading Post, and 3 HomeSense stores, as well as tjmaxx.com and sierratradingpost.com in the United States; 265 Winners, 117 HomeSense, and 72 Marshalls stores in Canada; 540 TJ Maxx and 55 HomeSense stores, as well as tjmaxx.com, in Europe; and 38 TJ Maxx stores in Australia.
In January 2018, TJX received an unsolicited offer from TRC Capital Corp. to purchase up to 2,000,000 shares of TJX’s common stock at a price of $70.95 per share in cash. The offering price is 4.34 percent below the $74.17 per share closing price of TJX’s common stock on December 15, 2017. TJX’s top management asked all TJX shareholders to reject the offer.
Regarding its corporate strategic planning and evaluating process, TJX is one of the most secretive of all publicly held retailers. As discussed in this chapter, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of being secretive rather than open in revealing corporate strategy. TJX’s CEO, Carol Meyrowitz, as well as her top executives, rarely give interviews and never discuss corporate strategy. TJX does not talk about its corporate strategy in part because rival firms are eager to learn this information to duplicate, imitate, undermine, and replicate. However, Fortune reports that “excellent inventory control” is a secret to the strategic success of TJX, including the following practices:
- Turn inventory over quickly. According to Morningstar, TJX turns over inventory every 55 days, versus 85 days for its peer group. TJX is structured to buy quickly and sell merchandise. Often, merchandise is sold before TJX has paid its vendors. Quick inventory turnover keeps new merchandise on the floor so customers rarely see the same items on repeat visits. TJX trains employees to “buy when you see it; otherwise it will be gone.”
- Provide “value, trendy merchandise,” not “cheap, leftover merchandise.”
- Promote the “treasure hunt” experience rather than catering to lower-income customers. Even high-income customers love the treasure hunt experience in TJX stores.
- Train buyers extensively and then give buyers autonomy to negotiate millions of dollars of purchases from suppliers. Purchase inventory year-round, continuously rather than seasonally, and purchase as close to the time of need as possible to negotiate a better price and be assured of the latest fashion trend. Negotiate low prices for purchases even if it means often purchasing “all available items in a category.”
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the strategic-planning process secret versus placing the firm’s strategic plan on the corporate website and discussing strategies and planning publicly?
- What are three types of industries where secrecy is warranted and three industries where secrecy is not warranted, or does type of industry even matter?
- Many colleges and universities have their strategic plan posted on their website. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this practice?
- Rank order the four “secret” practices listed in terms of how important you think the items are to TJX’s overall success. Rank the four items from 1 = most important to 4 = least important.