Case Study (Essay Writing)

Q1. In about 100 – 200 words, write an essay analyzing the below case study using the SWOT framework.

You are required to define each key concept (SWOT) and identify at least 2strengths, 2 weaknesses, 2 opportunities, and 2 threats. Then to write an analytical essay for the case study.(5 points)

Gap, the Californian-based fashion chain which started as a single shop in 1969, is by all accounts a retail phenomenon. Trading under the three labels Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, its worldwide estate extends to 3,157 stores. With 130 stores, Britain is its largest international market, well ahead of Japan, Canada and France. About 153,000 people work for the company worldwide.

But after a long decline, the future of the American fashion chain is in doubt as its founders consider a sale or a break-up of the retail empire. The company has been suffering falling sales ever since 2004. Gap has admitted a ‘disappointing customer response’ to its products over the last few years. Its shares are less than half the level of their peak in 2000. Such results contrast sharply with the growing popularity and success of lower-priced high street fashion chains with which it is unable to compete.

Some people suggest that Gap started to lose its sharp sense of customers’ tastes especially when long-serving chief executive Mickey Drexler left in 2002. He was replaced by a former Disney’s theme parks, Paul Pressler whose background is in marketing rather than fashion. Retail analyst David Stoddard argues that ‘if you look at {Gap’s} advertising and marketing, the strong message you get is that it doesn’t know what it is or who we are’

In its aggressive bid to restore credibility and a once – greatly-coveted market share, Gap in the US is now focusing on its traditional strengths- jeans, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts and khakis-to win back customers. It is also improving the quality of its fabrics. Gap which once was at the center of sweat labor claims is now greatly admired for its supply-chain management. It is also part of the charitable Red initiative with 50 percent of profits on certain items going to organizations fighting Aids in Africa. But this may be too little, too late.

Q2. Read the extract and apply the problem-solution pattern of analysis to it. (5 points)

Electronics Industry Warns of Palladium Shortage

Warning was given yesterday of a severe shortage of palladium, a metal essential for some components of portable electronic equipment such as mobile telephones and laptop computers, as well as for catalytic converters that remove pollutants from car exhausts.

“Palladium use continues to grow very strongly but production lags behind. Soon after 2000 we could be in a very difficult situation unless industrial users take attention now,’ said Mike Steel, research director at Johnson Matthey, the world’s biggest platinum and palladium marketing group. He said consumers had been relying on Russia’s palladium stocks to fill a substantial gap between demand and supply.JM believes these stocks will run out soon after the end of the century.

Mr. Steel said there had been a preview of potential trouble earlier this year when Russia, which exports 70 per cent of the world’s palladium, stopped exporting the metal for six months. This helped to drive the price to its highest level for eighteen years… Although it has fallen back since Russian Exports restarted, the price remains roughly double its level at this time last year.

  • What is the starting situation?
  • What is the problem?
  • What is the underlying cause of the problem?
  • What solution has been proposed?
  • How successful is the solution?

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