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retail Case Interview Questions & Answers

Circuit city considers introducing private label brands.

Case Type: new product . Consulting Firm: ZS Associates first round full time job interview. Industry Coverage: consumer electronics ; retail .

Case Interview Question #00866: Your client Circuit City Stores, Inc. is an American consumer electronics retailer headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. It sells all kinds of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software, and large home appliances. The company opened its first store in the 1970s,… Read the rest

Clothing Retailer Ascena Group to Restructure Business Units

Case Type: finance & economics ; organizational behavior . Consulting Firm: Capital One first round full time job interview. Industry Coverage: Retail ; Apparel & Clothing .

Case Interview Question #00820: Our client Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) is a large national retailer of women’s clothing headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, United States. Ascena owns the Dress Barn, Ann Taylor, Maurices, Justice, Lane Bryant, and… Read the rest

Saks Fifth Avenue Formulate Strategies for Future Growth

Case Type: growth ; merger & acquisition (M&A) . Consulting Firm: McKinsey & Company 1st round full time job interview. Industry Coverage: apparel, clothing & textiles ; retail .

Case Interview Question #00805: Our client is Saks Fifth Avenue, an American chain of luxury fashion stores for women’s apparel. Its flagship store and corporate headquarters are located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.… Read the rest

Trader Joe’s Opens More Stores to Regain Market Share

Case Type: increase sale, increase market share ; business competition . Consulting Firm: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Advisory first round full time job interview. Industry Coverage: retail .

Case Interview Question #00798: Our client Trader Joe’s is an American privately held chain of specialty grocery stores based in Monrovia, California, in Greater Los Angeles. As of 22 April 2015, Trader Joe’s had 457 stores, approximately half which are… Read the rest

Local Ann Arbor Supermarket to Add a Pharmacy in Store

Case Type: new business ; math problem . Consulting Firm: Oliver Wyman first round full time job interview. Industry Coverage: small business ; retail .

Case Interview Question #00758: After graduating from business school, you work as a consultant at Oliver Wyman. You have a friend who owns a single supermarket (mom & pop store) in the town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This friend has called… Read the rest

Best Retail Consultant Case Studies Worth Reading

Bob Phibbs

Access My FREE 5-Part Retail Sales Training Email Course!

Here are several business makeover case studies from some of the smallest retailers to some of the largest who've used me as their guide to growing their sales.

While I don't rely on a sales staff or cold-calling to get new business, use these case studies to familiarize yourself with my work.

I help various sizes of businesses, these case study successes are theirs.

At Eklund’s, a Business Makeover Story of Astonishing Retail Transformation

Billy Eklund

Retail Business Makeover – The Importance Of Owning Your Own Space [Case Study]

framing shop makeover by phibbs

Local Grocer & Nursery Makeover [Case Study]

A reinvention of a family business completed in the first quarter of 2013. Discover this 3-part blog featuring Black Horse Farms which includes great lessons on how to attract customers to your store and get them to return.

Creating Buzz For Your Small Business [Case Study]

The way you get buzz buzz in your business that is sustainable and leads to higher profits, is to be a business worthy of buzz. That means you have to earn your customers' trust. This is the transformation story of one of my first clients, Polly’s Gourmet Coffee with lessons on how to grow your retail business.

How to Attract Customers to Your Retail Store

Location a problem? This case study spotlights the results of creatively leveraging your retail location. So many times the thing that can most attract a customer - or make them drive right on by - is the exterior of your store.

restaurant retail consultancy

Where To Find Customers For Quickserve Restaurant - Case Study

When people ask for success stories of working with me as a retail consultant, I offer case studies. This owner wasted his marketing dollars on people who would never try his food product no matter how low-fat or high-quality it is. And he'd lost sight of their most important selling point: taste.

Retail Consultant Sales Training Results In Double-Digit Increase

This is a case study that featured a custom program developed to incorporate a new store design with custom phone scripts, sales training, personal coaching and role playing for owners and their salespeople.

Retail Consultant Success Changing A Regional Chain's Culture

This case study spotlights changing a company's entire culture from one of nurturing to nurturing and selling . From the CEO, "We had become bogged down in survival. And it wasn’t a healthy place to be… Not for me as the leader or my team. I needed someone to help me work on a new direction for my business and help me hear and observe what was going on. I was looking for a shift change in who we were."  

What Retailers Can Learn From A Hotel Makeover [Case Study]

This 3-part study of a culture change shows how the client focused on a remarkable experience for their customers. And the revenues followed.

How Brand Identity Makes Your Marketing Easier [Case Study]

Knowing your brand identity - what it is based on and who it is targeting makes your marketing job much easier.

Best Retail Consultant Success: Changing A Toy Store Retail Sales Culture [Case Study]

Best Retail Consultant Success: Changing A Toy Store Retail Sales Culture [Case Study]

Retail Advice: 7 Reasons Independent Retailers Go Broke

Retail Advice: 7 Reasons Independent Retailers Go Broke

5 Signs Your Retail Store Needs A Makeover

5 Signs Your Retail Store Needs A Makeover

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Optimized Offer and Messaging Leads to Large Contract Win With Dream Client

As a direct result of the strategies he learned at Consulting Success®, Howard Bryant won a major contract with a large corporation dream client.

Building an Independent Business

After many years in the corporate world, Howard Bryant decided to strike out on his own. His vision was to become a full-time independent consultant. Initially, he partnered with a company in the UK to provide corporate training products. Eventually, he relocated to Thailand, where he sold training products to retail companies, but he also began to do consulting work for mid-sized companies in developing markets looking to increase their commercial capabilities and capacity. This led to project management and strategy work, helping leadership teams write and implement business plans, as well as some personal development coaching.

Though he was moving more and more into consulting, Howard explained, “What I didn’t have was some real structure for my business.” He had no formal training on running a consulting business, so while he had plenty of expertise to share with clients, he struggled to develop processes for effectively growing his business and reaching the right clients. Though he read some content in an effort to learn, as he said, “It's all very well to read books, but somehow it's not the same as having somebody who's been there, done it, got the tee shirt.”

Learning to Dig Deeper

Along the way, he came across some of the social media content put out by Consulting Success®, and he was drawn to our clear processes, organizational strategies, and business management advice—in particular, our encouragement to dig deeper with clients in order to find their real problems. This inspired him to join the Consulting Success® coaching program.

In our program, he said, “The most important thing I learned was how to clarify my offer and structure my pricing.” He also learned how to create targeted messaging and relevant content on his website and social media, and how to navigate the stages of a sales conversation, which gave him a clear process for talking to prospective clients.

A Tactical and Methodical Approach to Consulting

As a result of implementing these strategies, he won a major project with a large corporation. The six-month project involved work across eight business units, so he leveraged his network to create a team of consultants. Throughout the six months, Howard used Consulting Success® as a resource, speaking frequently to the Consulting Success team to discuss the challenges of managing both consultants and key client stakeholders at the same time.

In the end, Howard’s time at Consulting Success® provided him with the tactical and methodical approach to building a consulting business that he needed in order to grow. As he put it, “Consulting Success is consistent, has a proven formula, and a vast amount of knowledge on consulting. I could discuss challenges with them, and they always had a good answer. Sometimes, I already knew the right answer, but they provided confirmation that helped me to trust my instincts.”

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Tomorrow Retail Consulting

A global retailer with 400+ stores across China faced pressure from online and smaller-format stores. Traffic was in a multi-year decline because customers found the retailer’s stores inconvenient and unappealing. Furthermore, the retailer lacked a holistic digital membership program and therefore had limited ability to assess the reasons for customer churn or to re-engage lapsed customers.

Mother and child looking at items in store

Tomorrow conducted shop-alongs, focus groups, and in-depth customer interviews to identify the friction points causing customers to reduce trips. Our research showed that customers struggled to find merchandise, to identify relevant promotions and — most important – to check out quickly. Customers pinpointed the wait times as a key reason to shop elsewhere.

To alleviate these pain points, Tomorrow proposed the creation of digital platform. The platform would help customers find products, provide personalized recommendations on promotions, and streamline checkout through a scan-and-pay system.

By using an agile development approach, Tomorrow launched the platform within 10 weeks. The rollout began with a proof of concept in one store and subsequently expanded to over 400 stores. While Tomorrow was leading this initiative, we were also analyzing data collected from users of the platform. Our analysis informed the development of another platform feature: an engine based on machine learning that enhances the personalization of item recommendations and promotions.

Woman employee looking at stock in online shopping app

Customers immediately saw the benefit of the digital platform, and adoption moved quickly from 7% in POC to nearly 50% in the best stores, all within 12 months.

Meanwhile, the personalization engine has rapidly emerged as a key competitive advantage for our client, and it has attracted additional brand investment from suppliers who are seeking this type of efficient, 1-to-1 channel to grow their sales.

Hacking The Case Interview

Studying case interview examples and practicing consulting cases is the best way to prepare for consulting interviews. Below, you'll find 34 of the best case interview examples and practice cases.  

McKinsey Case Interview Examples and Practice

BCG Case Interview Examples and Practice

Bain Case Interview Examples and Practice

Deloitte Case Interview Examples and Practice

Accenture Case Interview Examples and Practice

Oliver Wyman Case Interview Examples and Practice

LEK Case Interview Examples and Practice

AT Kearney Case Interview Examples and Practice

Roland Berger Case Interview Examples and Practice

Bridgespan Case Interview Examples and Practice

Simon-Kutcher Case Interview Examples and Practice

OC&C Case Interview Examples and Practice

Capital One Case Interview Examples and Practice

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A major retailer rejuvenates sales by thinking local

A major department store chain’s growth strategy was in trouble—its same-store sales were slumping. Working with the top executives, we transformed the way the retailer selected products for its stores. Instead of a standardized approach, we helped decentralized the system so that stores could cater to local preferences, giving customers what they wanted—and boosting sales.

retail consulting case study

The Situation

A leading department store chain, with hundreds of outlets, had pinned its growth strategy on a cookie-cutter approach, stocking similar products nationwide despite a huge range in store sizes, layouts and customer demographics.

Department StoreCo's* strategy was straightforward: After acquiring other retail chains, it wanted to grow revenues and maximize efficiencies by taking full advantage of its scale.

It wasn't a new strategy. Many giant retailers have built their success with a chain of identical stores. But times were changing; shoppers wanted more customized merchandise.

This trend was reflected in Department StoreCo's slumping sales. As pressure intensified, the CEO needed to find a way to rejuvenate sales.

Our Approach

Working with the CEO, we helped transform the retailer's growth strategy. Our research shows that tailoring product assortments to local tastes can boost same-store sales by 1 to 3 percentage points, and only 10 percent to 15 percent of the inventory needs to be customized.

Together with senior management, we designed a pilot project to identify localization opportunities. The process involved four steps:

retail consulting case study

Our Recommendations

Based on our assortment analysis and feedback from vendors, customers and store managers, we recommended that the company launch localization pilots in a range of stores, varying in size, location and customer demographics.

The database we developed and information from managers would allow the retailer to offer merchandise, geared to customers' different lifestyles and budgets. To succeed, the retailer needed to launch the pilot in stores with the largest growth opportunities and make some key changes:

The Results

The pilot store initiative we collaboratively developed quickly demonstrated success, proving the power of tailoring merchandise to shoppers' tastes and pocket books:

Most of the pilot stores were located in top performing regions. Even so, Department StoreCo was surprised when the pilot project debunked one its practices—offering limited product assortments in smaller stores. Some of the biggest sales increases were in small pilot stores with wealthier customers who were willing to buy more expensive fashions—if they were on the racks.

How We've Helped Clients

Business strategy a location intelligence solution fuels restaurantco’s bold footprint expansion, performance improvement turning losses into profits for a major apparel retailer, strategy a regional strategy helps global retailer find its way, ready to talk.

We work with ambitious leaders who want to define the future, not hide from it. Together, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.

Contact Bain

How can we help you?

Clothing Retailer

This business case interview will stretch your casing abilities. Jump into the case now!

Case Interview Prompt

Your client is a clothing retailer similar to the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch. They have expanded their number of store locations and achieved significant sales growth.

As a result, they are considering an IPO, however, recently the company had moved from profits to losses.

Why has the company recently moved from profits to losses? What needs to be done to become profitable again?

Overview of the Case

In this business case interview, the client has hired you to address a major profitability issue. Recently, the company has moved from profits to losses. Your job is to dig into the profit numbers and determine the cause of the change, and what the company needs to do to become profitable again. The company is trusting your recommendation on this.

You can use the Profitability Framework to solve the problem, but don’t pigeonhole yourself into that framework alone. The best casers know what frameworks to use, how to blend them, and which frameworks NOT to use. Use your business acumen and knowledge of frameworks to build a custom structure for the case.

This is an intermediate to advanced level case you might find in a Bain second round interview. The case contains several math exhibits – get your diagram interpretation game on.

Interview Tips at Bain

One of the things Bain looks for in candidates is practicality. Could the interviewer see you on the job conversing with the CEO of a F500 corporation?

in this case, focus on the clarity of your communication, and your overall polish.

If you need out-loud case practice, book an hour with one of our ex-MBB coaches.

For more business case interviews, head back to the Case Library .

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