B 1 It would be advisable for Flacks to consult customers before developing a new product.
D 2 Producing goods for specialist markets might increase Flacks' profits.
C 3 Flacks may need to change the function of one of its facilities.
A 4 Flacks should utilise its current expertise to enter a different market.
B 5 Flacks may need to consider closing its current production facility.
C 6 Flacks should develop the connections it has established with leading retailers.
A 7 Expanding the product range would not be a problem for the workforce.
Flacks is a UK-based company that produces fashion accessories for women. How can it continue to grow its business?
A Susan Falmer
Faced with a shrinking market, cheap imports and competitive pricing, Flacks will have to work hard to increase its margins. They need to move into a more promising market, one where demand is growing and where the company can exploit existing skills and contacts. They could think about brand extension - this would not be a giant leap and the sales force would take it in its stride. Also, they wouldn't need to re-equip their factory and could use non-UK sourcing if facilities here are in short supply.
B Mesut Guzel
They have the fundamentals of a survival strategy in a market where outsourced manufacture and brand differentiation hold the key to success. I think they should initially locate some of their production in another country, where manufacturing quality tends to be better and it is easier to meet changing customer demands. But they should also regularly monitor production in Britain and think about outsourcing all this work abroad at some point if they need it done faster. The company should continue to work on innovative products, and thorough market research will help to ensure any new ideas are well received.
C Gary Wilmot
In order to beat their rivals in a highly competitive market, Flacks should ensure their products are attractive and build on their relationships with the big stores rather than trying to go it alone and market directly. They should also consider refocusing production by using their UK factory for high-specification products. They could eventually build more production overseas in a cycle of continuous development.
D Michal Kaminski
The demand for fashion accessories is relatively flat and the company should consider exploiting niche markets to improve its margins. But even within these, Flacks must distinguish its goods from those of its rivals in terms of quality, performance and design. Innovative sales, marketing and PR are vital to exploit these niche products. One competitive advantage that Flacks does have is production times. Many retail chains now have two-tier supply chains and Flacks could focus on top-up orders. They might also investigate other sales channels such as mail order.
第一题，说在开发新产品前咨询客户的意见对于Flacks来讲是很明智的。答案是B段的最后一句：thorough market research will help to ensure any new ideas are well received.彻底的市场调查能够确保新的思想很好的被接受。Market research，市场调查，在很大程度上就是咨询客户的意见(consult customers)，any new ideas可以对应于developing a new product,能够well received，那么对于公司来讲当然就是advisable了。选B。
第二题，说为专业市场生产产品可以增加利润。答案是D段的这么一句：the company should consider exploiting niche markets to improve its margins这题关键是要理解一个市场的含义：niche market。看英英解释：a small area of trade within the economy, often involving specialized products。improve its margins也就是increase profits，选D。
第三题，说Flacks可能需要改变它的一个设备的功能。这里答案不是太明显，是C段的这么一句：They should also consider refocusing production by using their UK factory for high-specification products。他们也需要考虑通过利用英国工厂生产高规格产品来调整生产焦点。也就是说，英国工厂原来不是生产高规格产品的，即题目说的改变它的一个设备的功能。
第四题，说Flacks可以利用现有的技能来进入一个新的市场。答案是A段的这么一句：They need to move into a more promising market, one where demand is growing and where the company can exploit existing skills and contacts。他们需要进入一个更有发展前景的市场，一个需求增长并且公司可以利用现有技能和合同的市场。exploit existing skills也就是utilise its current expertise。
第五题，说Flacks可以考虑关闭现有的生产设备。这题也有些隐晦，答案是这么一句：think about outsourcing all this work abroad。关键就在于outsource这个词的意思：turn to outside suppliers or manufacturers外购。既然是要考虑outsource——turn to outside manufactures，那么也就是可以考虑关闭自己的生产设备了。选B。
第六题，说Flacks应该考虑发展同领先的连锁商已经建立起来的关系。答案在C段：build on their relationships with the big stores发展他们同大商店的关系。
第七题，说扩展产品范围对劳动力来讲不是问题。答案在A段：They could think about brand extension - this would not be a giant leap and the sales force would take it in its stride.他们可以考虑品牌扩张——这不是一个巨大的跳跃，在销售力量的步调范围之内。言下之意，不是问题。选A。