BRITISH COMPANIES CROSS THE ATLANTIC
Next month a large group of British business people are going to America on a venture which may generate export earnings for their companies' shareholders in years to come. A long list of sponsors will support the initiative, which will involve a ￡3-million media campaign and a fortnight of events and exhibitions. The ultimate goal is to persuade more Americans that British companies have something to interest them.
While there have been plenty of trade initiatives in the past, the difference this time round is that considerable thinking and planning have gone into trying to work out just what it is that Americans look for in British products. Instead of exclusively promoting the major corporations, this time there is more emphasis on supporting the smaller, more unusual, niche businesses.
Fresh in the memories of all those concerned is the knowledge that America has been the end of many a large and apparently successful business. For Carringtons, a retail group much respected by European customers and investors, America turned out to be a commercial disaster and the belief that they could even show some of the great American stores a retailing trick or two was hopelessly over-optimistic.
Polly Brown, another very British brand that rode high for years on good profits and huge city confidence, also found that conquering America, in commercial and retailing terms, was not as easy as it had imagined. When it positioned itself in the US as a niche, luxury brand, selling shirts that were priced at $40 in the UK for $125 in the States, the strategy seemed to work. But once its management decided it should take on the middle market, this success rapidly drained away. It was a disastrous mistake and the high cost of the failed American expansion plans played a large role in its declining fortunes in the mid-nineties.
Sarah Scott, managing director of Smythson, the upmarket stationer, has had to think long and hard about what it takes to succeed in America and she takes it very seriously indeed. 'Many British firms are quite patronising about the US,' she says. They think that we're so much more sophisticated than the Americans. They obviously haven't noticed Ralph Lauren, an American who has been much more skilled at tapping into an idealised Englishness than any English company. Also, many companies don't bother to study the market properly and think that because something's successful in the UK, it's bound to be successful over there. You have to look at what you can bring them that they haven't already got. On the whole, American companies are brilliant at the mass, middle market and people who've tried to take them on at this level have found it very difficult.'
This time round it is just possible that changing tastes are running in Britain's favour. The enthusiasm for massive, centralised retail chains has decreased. People want things with some sort of individuality; they are fed up with the banal, middle-of-the-road taste that America does so well. They are now looking for the small, the precious, the 'real thing', and this is precisely what many of the companies participating in the initiative do best.
13 The main reason that the British business people are going to America is to
A encourage American consumers to buy their products.
B analyse how American companies attract media coverage.
C look for financial backing from American investors and banks.
D investigate how British and American companies could form partnerships.
14 In the writer's opinion, the proposed venture will be different to previous ones because
A fewer British business leaders will be making the trip.
B less well-known companies will be better represented.
C the larger companies have decided they will not be participating.
D it involves research into how British companies market themselves.
15 The writer states that Carringtons was wrong to
A be cautious about trading in America.
B borrow money from its European investors.
C assume it was superior to American rivals.
D ignore the advice of its American managers.
16 According to the writer, Polly Brown's mistake occurred when it
A continued to trade despite making a loss.
B attempted to attract a different type of customer.
C tried to break into too many markets at the same time.
D expected American consumers to pay British prices for goods.
17 Sarah Scott states that British companies hoping to succeed in America should
A focus on a gap in the market.
B be less concerned with their image.
C concentrate on selling products in the mid-price range.
D carry out research into the pricing policies of American companies.
18 The writer suggests that success in America depends upon
A adopting a more American approach to marketing.
B persuading the mid-range consumer to pay for quality.
C copying the strategies of American companies.
D building a reputation as a supplier of unique goods.
《British companies across the Atlantic》，跨洋英国公司。有一批在本土干的不错的英国公司，雄心勃勃的要在大洋彼岸的美国去大展拳脚，结果遭遇了滑铁卢。文章根据这些公司的经验和教训，说明了去海外开拓市场的注意事项。
13题，问英国商人去美国的主要原因是什么。答案是第一段的最后一句话：The ultimate goal is to persuade more Americans that British companies have something to interest them.终.极目标是是更多的美国人信服英国公司有可以吸引他们的地方。说的这么婉转动听，其实意思就是：要美国人买他们英国人的产品。答案是A。ultimate goal可以对应于main reason。
14题，说在作者的观点里，所推荐的企业(proposed是recommended的意思)不同于上次的一批，原因是什么。答案是第二段的最后的一句：Instead of exclusively promoting the major corporations, this time there is more emphasis on supporting the smaller, more unusual, niche businesses.这次的重点更多的在于支持规模小一些的特色企业，而不是单独促进大公司。也就是说这次和上次的区别在于重点扶植的对象不同。选B：less well-known companies will be better represented。不那么出名的一些公司将得到更好的展现。represented在这里的意思是be present to a particular degree.看一个例句：Abstraction is well represented in this exhibition.
15题，问作者认为Carringtons错误的地方在哪。答案是第三段的最后一句：the belief that they could even show some of the great American stores a retailing trick or two was hopelessly over-optimistic.认为自己可以给一些大的美国商店玩一下连锁的戏法，结果杯具了。也就是答案C所说的认为他们强于美国对手。Show some of the great American stores a retailing trick是关键点，理解了这个就好做出答案。
16题，问依作者之见，Polly Brown的错误在什么时候发生的。答案在第四段，前面说当这个公司将自己定位于一个特殊的奢侈品牌时，战略似乎是奏效的。但是当管理层决定去攻占中级市场时，成功的果实很快被榨干了。所以答案是B：试图去吸引一个不同类型的消费群体。a different type of customer可以对应于take on the middle market。take on在这里是occupy的意思。
17题，问Sarah Scott说英国公司要想在美国成功必须怎么样，答案在第五段。这个人在第五段前面讲了很多英国公司的缺点，比如自以为是。最关键的句子是这么一个：You have to look at what you can bring them that they haven't already got.给他们带来他们现在还没有得到的一些东西。也就是说要填补现有市场上的一些空白。选A。
18题，在美国成功取决于什么。答案在第六段。说人们需要有一点个性的东西，而这正好是从事于这个领域的很多公司可以做的。答案选D：建立一个独特商品提供者的名声。unique goods是关键词，可以对应things with some sort of individuality。