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On the Relationship Between Inventory Costs and Variety Benefits in Retail Assortments


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  • Garrett van Ryzin

    (Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, Uris Hall, 3022 Broadway, New York, New York 10027)

  • Siddharth Mahajan

    (The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Box 90120, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0120)

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    Consider a category of product variants distinguished by some attribute such as color or flavor. A retailer must construct an assortment for the category, i.e., select a subset variants to stock and determine purchase quantities for each offered variant. We analyze this problem using a multinomial logit model to describe the consumer choice process and a newsboy model to represent the retailer's inventory cost. We show that the optimal assortment has a simple structure and provide insights on how various factors affect the optimal level of assortment variety. We also develop a formal definition of the level of fashion in a category using the theory of majorization and examine its implications for category profits.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 11 (November)
    Pages: 1496-1509

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:11:p:1496-1509

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    Keywords: variety; inventory; retailing; consumer choice; assortment; optimization; newsboy; fashion; majorization; multinomial logit;


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    Cited by:
    1. Vaagen, Hajnalka & Wallace, Stein W. & Kaut, Michal, 2011. "Modelling consumer-directed substitution," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 388-397, December.
    2. Stavrulaki, Euthemia, 2011. "Inventory decisions for substitutable products with stock-dependent demand," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 65-78, January.
    3. Hübner, Alexander H. & Kuhn, Heinrich, 2012. "Retail category management: State-of-the-art review of quantitative research and software applications in assortment and shelf space management," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 199-209, April.
    4. Zhao, Jing & Tang, Wansheng & Wei, Jie, 2012. "Pricing decision for substitutable products with retail competition in a fuzzy environment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 144-153.
    5. Choi, Sungyong & Ruszczynski, Andrzej, 2011. "A multi-product risk-averse newsvendor with exponential utility function," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 214(1), pages 78-84, October.
    6. Vaagen, Hajnalka & Wallace, Stein W., 2008. "Product variety arising from hedging in the fashion supply chains," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 431-455, August.
    7. Robotis, Andreas & Bhattacharya, Shantanu & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 2005. "The effect of remanufacturing on procurement decisions for resellers in secondary markets," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 163(3), pages 688-705, June.
    8. Bernstein, Fernando & Federgruen, Awi, 2004. "Comparative statics, strategic complements and substitutes in oligopolies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 713-746, September.
    9. Rodríguez, Betzabé & AydIn, Göker, 2011. "Assortment selection and pricing for configurable products under demand uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 210(3), pages 635-646, May.
    10. Liu, Heng & Özer, Özalp, 2009. "Managing a product family under stochastic technological changes," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 567-580, December.
    11. Kolias, Georgios D. & Dimelis, Sophia P. & Filios, Vasilios P., 2011. "An empirical analysis of inventory turnover behaviour in Greek retail sector: 2000-2005," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 143-153, September.
    12. Zhao, Li & Tian, Peng & Xiangyong Li, 2012. "Dynamic pricing in the presence of consumer inertia," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 137-148, April.


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