The Role Of Store Design In The Development Of An Established Retail Brand: The MFI Experience

Andy Turton 
Marketing Blueprint Ltd, United Kingdom;
and
Debbie Boshell
MFI Furniture Centres, United Kingdom

THE BUSINESS CONTEXT

MFI is the UK's leading furniture retailer, providing a wide range of furniture and furnishing products, ranging from fully fitted kitchens and bedrooms though dining furniture, lounge upholstery, and beds, to textiles and occasional furniture. MFI have been at the forefront of UK retail development, and were, for example, pioneers in the retailing of self assembly furniture and the development of out of town retailing.

The traditional MFI proposition was heavily discounter based so that one of the most striking features of the in-store environment was the plethora of 'sale' and discount signage, which was also a dominant theme in MFI's advertising campaigns. This approach offered MFI a competitive advantage for many years, allowing them to grow and to grow profitably. In a competitive environment the need is for constant and sustained differentiation and this, amongst other things, requires an ongoing research programme to identify and evaluate market opportunities, either to reinforce a competitive edge, or to develop it, and to fulfil this need MFI ran a continuous programme of consumer research.