1. What is the assortment of merchandise they are selling?
This location is selling a number of different bikini sets in a wide range of different colors. The styles are mostly similar – basic bikini sets. In addition, there is overall beach wear, including cover-all bathing suits and beach dresses. The department also sells beach-appropriate sunglasses.

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2. What is the stores merchandising philosophy/format (reg price, off price, fast-fashion, etc.)
The philosophy seems to be off price. The goal seems to be to provide good value by providing sharp-looking swim wear at very affordable prices.

3. Who is the target market. Who do you observe shopping there? age group, gender, income level, etc
There seems to be a diverse mix of people shopping. The age group ranges from young professionals to older mothers. While the group is largely female, there are some males who appear to be shopping on behalf of partners. The income level could be described as middle class to upper-middle class, just judging by the clothing of the shoppers.

4.What is the merchandising message or fashion statement in the window front of the store. What season is shown. (they are probably showing fall clothes not and not showcases swimwear in the windows)
The windowfront of the store features the newest fall styles. The store seems to have just transitioned out of trying to sell its pure summer looks, and when observed, it was making changes to the design of the windowfront.

5. Is the merchandise organized by brand, color, price point, trend, etc?
The merchandise is largely organized by price point. Inside the department, there are various sections designed for low-price shoppers, while the relatively few upscale items are by themselves. Sale items are placed together in a centralized location.
6. Where are the sale items located in that section?
The sale items are centralized, but they are located in the front of the department. The design is such that people talking through H&M will be required to see the sale signs, and these sale items are designed to lure in individuals from the general store.
7.What fixtures are used for the different types of products (they probably use t-stands, round racks, and tables to showcase items)
Many of the bikini bottoms are showcased on tables in a format similar to what one might see at Victoria’s Secret with its lingerie line. In addition, they used t-stands to display a small amount of the merchandise. Round racks were used toward the back of the department, but they were not featured prominently.

8. What is their vendor assortment? Private labels, national brands, etc?
The store does not focus on national brands. Rather, they appear to be going with low-cost private labels that are not exactly recognizable. The focus seems to be less on the name and more on the price or look of the items.

9. what are the pricing strategies for trend vs key item.
The store’s primary focus is on value-based items, so its primary items are priced very low, especially compared to the swimwear market. On trendy items, the store pushes the price, with its rates being 20-percent to 30-percent above its key items.

10. what types of signage is used in the store and is it effective?
The store lacks sufficient signage. The signage is very basic and simply offers an indication of the price or the sale, if one exists in that particular part of the department. The signage communicates what is going on, but it does not add anything to the sales atmosphere.

11. if the store is publicly traded, what are their current comp store sales for the month or quarter? (how are they doing financially?)
Sales in the second quarter were up 20%, with operating profit being up 26%. The company overall seems to be doing very well, with the company opening new stores in big locations like New York City.

12. what do you think they can do better or differently? if there is a sale going on is it uniform or is everything marked down differently, are there promotional prices, or is everything full price?

The department could more effectively utilize different price points. Everything is relatively cheap, but the company could use more variation with its pricing to create intrigue in special sales, especially during months like July when sales may be more difficult to come by.

On the stores website:
1. What is the merchandising message on their homepage, is it the same or different than the store?
The website speaks to the value nature of the brand, discussing the extremely low pricing as well as some of the deals that the company offers. This is the same approach that one might see in the H&M store.

2. is the website easy to navigate?
The website is very easy to navigate, as it is organized in a way that visitors can quickly search for whatever products they are after. The site is optimized and somewhat cluttered, but it works well for any person with some Internet savvy.

3. how is the website organized, category, look size, etc?
The website is organized by category, with ladies, mens, and kids sections being featured on the top bar. In addition, one can find all sale items across various categories in a special tab.

does the site offer exclusive styles not found in stores. How would a buyer plan differently for this type of sale?
The website does feature some of the newer items, but eventually, these items all make it into stores.

4. If you like an item does the website offer suggestions of other things you may like?
The website shows what others have purchased if they purchased that item, and it also shows what you might “style” the item with.

5. Is the website pricing the same as the store?
The website pricing is generally consistent with in-store pricing.