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Supersize It: The Growth of Retail Chains and the Rise of the "Big Box" Retail Format

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Author Info

  • Emek Basker
  • Shawn Klimek
  • Pham Hoang Van

Abstract

This paper documents and explains the recent rise of "big-box" general merchandisers. Data from the Census of Retail Trade for 1977-2007 show that general-merchandise chains grew much faster than specialist retail chains, and that general merchandisers that added the most stores also made the biggest increases to their product offerings. We explain these facts with a stylized model in which a retailer’s scale economies interact with consumer gains from one-stop shopping to generate a complementarity between a retailer’s scale and scope.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2008/CES-WP-08-23R.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2011
Download Restriction: no

File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2008/CES-WP-08-23.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 08-23r.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:08-23r

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Related research

Keywords: Retail; chain; big box; superstore; economies of scale; general merchandise; one-stop shopping;

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References

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  1. Emek Basker & Michael Noel, 2007. "The Evolving Food Chain: Competitive Effects of Wal-Marts Entry into the Supermarket Industry," Working Papers 0712, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. Ross, Thomas W, 1984. "Winners and Losers under the Robinson-Patman Act," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 243-71, October.
  3. Jonathan Beck & Michal Grajek & Christian Wey, 2011. "Estimating level effects in diffusion of a new technology: barcode scanning at the checkout counter," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(14), pages 1737-1748.
  4. Emek Basker, 2003. "Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Wal-Mart Expansion," Labor and Demography 0303002, EconWPA, revised 11 Mar 2005.
  5. Mark Doms & Ron Jarmin & Shawn Klimek, 2004. "Information technology investment and firm performance in US retail trade," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(7), pages 595-613.
  6. Emek Basker & Van Pham Hoang, 2011. "Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade," Working Papers 01, Development and Policies Research Center (DEPOCEN), Vietnam.
  7. Holmes, Thomas J, 2001. "Bar Codes Lead to Frequent Deliveries and Superstores," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 708-25, Winter.
  8. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2006. "Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 748-758, November.
  9. Bliss, Christopher, 1988. "A Theory of Retail Pricing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 375-91, June.
  10. Roger Betancourt & David Gautschi, 1990. "Demand Complementarities, Household Production, and Retail Assortments," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(2), pages 146-161.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Haltiwanger, John & Jarmin, Ron & Krizan, C.J., 2010. "Mom-and-Pop meet Big-Box: Complements or substitutes?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 116-134, January.
  2. Emek Basker, 2012. "Raising the Barcode Scanner: Technology and Productivity in the Retail Sector," NBER Working Papers 17825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Emek Basker, 2007. "The Causes and Consequences of Wal-Mart's Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 177-198, Summer.
  4. Jonathan Haskel & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "Regulation and UK Retailing Productivity: Evidence from Microdata," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(315), pages 425-448, 07.
  5. Emek Basker, 2008. "Does Wal-Mart Sell Inferior Goods?," Working Papers 0805, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  6. Maican, Florin & Orth, ´Matilda, 2013. "Entry Regulations, Product Differentiation and Determinants of Market Structure," Working Paper Series 984, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Emek Basker, 2013. "Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation," Working Papers 1302, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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