Intercollegiate Retail Challenge 2009-2010
The 2009-2010 Winning Team, Global Furnishings, Inc. at NRF's BIG Show, in January 2010. Back (L to R): Anna Rhoades, Senior, Marketing, Georgia Southern University; Kira Martin, Senior, Merchandising, Florida State University; Natalie Bendroff, Sophomore, Retail/Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona. Front (L to R): Aysha Majeed, Junior, Business Administration, University of Michigan; Gentry Adams, Senior, Marketing, University of Florida; and Elena Brick, Senior, Retailing, University of Wisconsin
The Winning Team
Global Furnishings, Inc. led by Melinda Burke of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona, delivered the winning solution to the panel of judges on December 10, 2009. The team is made up of students representing six universities as follows:
- Gentry Adams, Senior, Marketing, University of Florida
- Kira Martin, Senior, Merchandising, Florida State University
- Anna Rhodes, Senior, Marketing, Georgia Southern University
- Elena Brick, Senior, Retailing, University of Wisconsin
- Aysha Majeed, Junior, Business Administration, University of Michigan
- Natalie Bendroff, Sophomore, Retail/Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona
Read the press release on announcement of winners.
And celebrating the winners are...
American Express and NRF Foundation, the creators of and partners in this exciting program, wish to thank all who made the third aspire2retail student challenge a great success. In an exciting new addition to the program, American Express and NRF Foundation welcomed Sponsoring Retail Partners to this year's challenge. JCPenney, Macy's, Sears Holding Corporation, Toys "R" Us and NRF division, Shop.org, provided a combination of judges, mentors and generous scholarships to the six winning students. The companies' enthusiasm for this project is very rewarding and greatly appreciated.
- University of Arizona, Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing
- University of Florida, Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research, Warrington College of Business
- Georgia Southern University, Center for Retail Studies
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence
- Florida State University, The Center for Retail Merchandising and Product Development
- University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
2009-2010 Challenge Overview
The Scenario: You have been selected to be part of a cross-functional planning and implementation team at a large, well established, modestly-priced furniture store (e.g., IKEA) with a substantial web presence. Your product line has enjoyed great success in the U.S., but is at risk of reaching saturation, resulting in stagnant or declining sales. Management has been interested in expanding operations internationally and feels that China is the best country to test how the company’s brand and product line will be received, based on a growing, increasingly more Westernized middle class that they believe will provide a strong customer base for the next decade.
Working with a cross-functional team, you will evaluate the risks and rewards of moving into China, considering cultural differences, treasury and tax regulations, demographic information, real estate and store location options, appropriate size of operation, staffing and training, advisability of local partnership ventures and implications for the continued growth of your online business. You will also investigate the various models of Chinese market penetration that have worked successfully for other foreign-based companies (e.g., joint ventures, etc.) You and your team will prepare a report for management on outcomes of your evaluation and make preliminary recommendations for implementation.
- Evaluate the financial feasibility of expanding into China successfully in order to make preliminary recommendations to management, including anticipated costs of all team members. In short, “Will this line work?”
- Suggest the most viable site (city) for a first store based on demographic and other research and support your selection.
- Make recommendations for correct footprint and appropriate assortment for the China market.
- Report what will need to be different, if anything, about the company’s traditional merchandising, presentation and marketing to successfully engage customers in both store and Internet operations.
- Develop a plan for staffing and training and development candidates to staff stores and to prepare qualified staff for greater responsibility as the company grows.
The Team Roles: The six team members at each school will role play a different career perspective and will represent one of the careers listed below.
- Real Estate
- Merchandise Planning
- Visual Merchandising
- Store and Internet Operations
- Recruitment and Training
Each career position will have a retail executive from that area of operations in a national retail company who will serve as mentor to the team of six students playing his/her role.
Retail Executive Mentors:
- Sue Grafton, VP, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Best Buy
- Theresa Orth, VP of HR, Toys R Us
- Kelvin Peyton, Sr. Real Estate Mgr., Macy’s
- Rick Sotomayor, Planner, Better Updated Petites, Macy’s
- Janis Healy, VIS Merch, AVP, Orchard Supply Hardware
- Angela Kapp, SVP CRM & New Initiatives, Estee Lauder
- Jason Leonard, Director of Field Recruiting, JCPenney
- Rachel Hawksworth, Dir., Talent & Human Capital Services, Sears Holdings Corp.
- Blake Witters, Regional Mgr., College Relations, Macy’s
- Shamika Lackey, Director, College Relations, Macy’s
- Pinny Gniwisch, Founder & EVP, Marketing, Ice.com
- Kathy Mance, Executive Director, NRF Foundation
- Christopher Hollins, VP, Retail and Emerging Industries, AMEX
Download a copy of each teams' presentation.
- Global Furnishings, Inc. (winning team)
- In One's Element
- REAL Connection
- retailoRED Generation
- Cheng Jia Expansioners
Challenge Scenarios and Previous Winners
- 2011-2012 Challenge Scenario
- 2010-2011 Challenge Scenario and Winning Team
- 2009-2010 Challenge Scenario and Winning Team
- 2008-2009 Challenge Scenario and Winning Team
- 2007-2008 Challenge Scenario and Winning Team
The aspire2retail Intercollegiate Retail Challenge is sponsored by American Express.