Please read the following case, case-related questions, financial statements (Attachment 1), and store location map (Attachment 2). Harrison Company is in the retail industry. You will have to make and explicitly document several general and question-specific assumptions. These assumptions are needed, since you will have incomplete information, as is often true in the business world. For example, your assumptions about how deep the effects of the current/past recession will be and when it will end will be extremely important to document and should be provided in the executive summary. It will affect the credibility of your proposed strategy. (Technically, the recession seems to have ended although many effects remain.)
You have all the information that there is and you must make specific decisions. Do not include in any answer the statement that your company will conduct additional research to make an informed decision.

You should first read the case and all of the questions. Each of the questions relates to an MBA learning goal. Because learning goal # 1 is integrative and deals with strategy, it is placed as the last question. Thus, you should prepare written answers for learning goal questions #2 through #5 before answering question #1. Once you have completed all of the questions, you should write an executive summary and place it at the beginning of your report.

Each learning goal relates to a rubric with the same number. Include a heading for each of your answers to make it easier for assessment. For example type: “Rubric question 2” and then your answer for question #2. Although the case questions address a variety of separate business concepts, your essay should be written in an integrative style. This integration should support your strategy, based upon your analysis.

You are the new president of Harrison Company, taking over in the late spring of the current year and tasked with improving the performance of the company. Several actions that should not be part of your strategy include: your resignation, the sale of the business, mergers/acquisitions, filing for bankruptcy, or any other action that would prevent you from running the company, as is, over the next five-year strategic planning period.

Your report should be no more than ten pages typed, Times New Roman 12 font, and single spaced. No identifying title is needed on page 1, but do title the executive summary. Include page numbers in the footer on the right side. Include “Harrison Case MM/YYYY” and your name in the header of each page. You may also provide up to three additional appendices (pages) of charts, graphs, or other supporting materials. Any references should be footnoted in the body of the text, if needed. This will require a very concise write-up, since draft documents often exceed ten pages. Carefully address the major points and yet show relevant supporting documentation.

The questions may be assessed across student papers. That is, question #2 might be assessed for all students without the assessor reading the other parts of the case report. Thus, you should avoid referencing other parts of your report, wherever possible. Repeating a “few” pieces of information in different sections is preferred.

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These solutions may offer step-by-step problem-solving explanations or good writing examples that include modern styles of formatting and construction of bibliographies out of text citations and references. Students may use these solutions for personal skill-building and practice. Unethical use is strictly forbidden.

General Information

The Harrison Company, a public company headquartered in State College, PA is facing a time of crisis. (See Attachment 1 for financial statements.) The company is a mid-sized regional retailer. It has 80 stores in seven states, primarily in the Northeast. It also owns two equally-sized distribution centers, one in Pennsylvania and one in Massachusetts. All of its stores are in rural areas and generate exactly $600,000 per store in sales per year (to simplify the case). As shown in the attached financial statements, sales and profits have been dropping over the last three-year period. You have been brought in as president to move the company in a new and better direction. The previous president has just retired at age 70, is no longer on the board of directors, and has broken all contacts within the company.

Although your predecessor did not see the need to employ an explicit strategy for running the business, competition from retail chains, such as Wal-Mart and Dollar General, has become more intense. In the past, your company has been somewhat shielded from competition by its stores’ rural locations. Now there is a Wal-Mart store within 10 miles, on average, of each of your stores. Your eight home office employees have not developed advanced business skills. For example, your marketing manager does not prepare either store or company-level sales forecasts.

As you look at the company situation, there does not appear to be an obvious choice between a low-cost strategy (such as that followed by Wal-Mart) and a differentiation strategy (such as that followed by Nordstrom). Next year’s plans, which you can alter, call for the purchase or construction of eight new stores, as well as the renovation of the Pennsylvania distribution center. Planned new store locations include three stores in West Virginia, two stores in Rhode Island, two in Vermont, and one in New York. The board wants to know if you agree with this specific action plan. There have been no store openings, closings, or changes to the distribution centers last year or this year.

There are several immediate concerns that face you upon taking over as president. One of your store managers, who has recently been fired, has gone to the press with accusations that your company has been buying very inexpensive clothing from a Honduran company whose employees face slave-like conditions. He claims that the main reason for his being fired was that he insisted on raising this issue with top management. There seems to be no documentation within the company related to this issue.

As with many of your competitors, you find that the company is actively discouraging the entry of unions into your company. Although this seems to be taking place primarily by store managers, it would seem reasonable that company headquarter personnel are directing this effort....

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