For most of the 20th century Smithson’s was one of Britain’s most successful department stores, but by the mid-1990s, it had become dull. Still profitable, thanks largely to a series of successful advertising campaigns, but decidedly boring. The famous were careful not to be seen there, and its sales staff didn’t seem to have changed since the store opened in 1908. Worst of all, its customers were buying fewer and fewer of its own-brand products, the major part of its business, and showing a preference for more fashionable brands.
But now all this has changed, thanks to Rowena Baker, who became Smithson’s first woman Chief Executive three years ago. Since then, while most major retailers in Britain have been losing money, Smithson’s profits have been rising steadily. When Baker started, a lot of improvements had just been made to the building, without having any effect on sales, and she took the bold decision to invite one of Europe’s most exciting interior designers to develop the fashion area, the heart of the store. This very quickly led to rising sales, even before the goods on display were changed. And as sales grew, so did profits.
Baker had ambitious plans for the store from the start. “We’re playing a big game, to prove we’re up there with the leaders in our sector, and we have to make sure people get that message. Smithson’s had fallen behind the competition. It provided a traditional service targeted at middle-aged, middle-income customers, who’d been shopping there for years, and the customer base was gradually contracting. Our idea is to sell such an exciting variety of goods that everyone will want to come in, whether they plan to spend a little or a lot.”
16. Which one below is the closest meaning to “decidedly” in paragraph 1?
A. Exactly B. Undoubtedly
C. Truly D. Surely
17. What did Baker do to make sales rise quickly?
A. Adopted a lot of improvements.
B. Invited an European designer to develop the fashion area.
C. A series of successful advertising campaigns.
D. All of the above.
18. Which one below is the best reason for explaining Smithson’s had once fallen behind the competition?
A. Its sales staff didn’t seem to have changed since the store opened in 1908.
B. The economic environment was depressing.
C. It provided a traditional service targeted at middle-aged, middle-income customers and the customers base was shrinking.
D. Its customers were buying fewer and fewer of its own-brand products, which was the major part of its business.
19. According to paragraph 3, what is Baker’s idea?
A. To prove they’re up there with the leaders in the sector.
B. They’re playing a big game.
C. To make sure people get the message that they’re up.
D. To sell an exciting variety of goods that everyone will want to come in.
20. Which one is correct according to this passage?
A. Smithson’s has been one of Britain’s most successful department stores all the time.
B. Smithson’s first woman Chief Executive was Rowena Baker.
C. Although sales grew, profits dropped.
D. Smithson’s customers base was shrinking rapidly.