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Competing Retailers and Inventory: An Empirical Investigation of General Motors' Dealerships in Isolated U.S. Markets

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  • Marcelo Olivares

    () (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

  • Gérard P. Cachon

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

Abstract

We study the following question: How does competition influence the inventory holdings of General Motors' dealerships operating in isolated U.S. markets? We wish to disentangle two mechanisms by which local competition influences a dealer's inventory: (1) the entry or exit of a competitor can change a retailer's demand (a sales effect); and (2) the entry or exit of a competitor can change the amount of buffer stock a retailer holds, which influences the probability that a consumer finds a desired product in stock (a service-level effect). Theory is clear on the sales effect--an increase in sales leads to an increase in inventory (albeit a less than proportional increase). However, theoretical models of inventory competition are ambiguous on the expected sign of the service-level effect. Via a Web crawler, we obtained data on inventory and sales for more than 200 dealerships over a six-month period. Using cross-sectional variation, we estimated the effect of the number and type of local competitors on inventory holdings. We used several instrumental variables to control for the endogeneity of market entry decisions. Our results suggest that the service-level effect is strong, nonlinear, and positive. Hence, we observe that dealers carry more inventory (controlling for sales) when they face additional competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcelo Olivares & Gérard P. Cachon, 2009. "Competing Retailers and Inventory: An Empirical Investigation of General Motors' Dealerships in Isolated U.S. Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(9), pages 1586-1604, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:9:p:1586-1604
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1090.1050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. James D. Dana Jr. & Eugene Orlov Jr., 2014. "Internet Penetration and Capacity Utilization in the US Airline Industry," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 106-137, November.
    2. Karthik Balasubramanian & David F. Drake, 2015. "Service Quality, Inventory and Competition: An Empirical Analysis of Mobile Money Agents in Africa," Harvard Business School Working Papers 15-059, Harvard Business School, revised Oct 2015.
    3. Chuang, Chia-Hung & Chiang, Chung-Yean, 2016. "Dynamic and stochastic behavior of coefficient of demand uncertainty incorporated with EOQ variables: An application in finished-goods inventory from General Motors׳ dealerships," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 95-109.
    4. Qi, Yuqing & Ni, Weihong & Shi, Kuiran, 2015. "Game theoretic analysis of one manufacturer two retailer supply chain with customer market search," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 57-64.
    5. Gad Allon & Awi Federgruen & Margaret Pierson, 2011. "How Much Is a Reduction of Your Customers' Wait Worth? An Empirical Study of the Fast-Food Drive-Thru Industry Based on Structural Estimation Methods," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(4), pages 489-507, October.
    6. Saravanan Kesavan & Vidya Mani, 2013. "The Relationship Between Abnormal Inventory Growth and Future Earnings for U.S. Public Retailers," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 15(1), pages 6-23, May.
    7. Charlotte R. Ren & Ye Hu & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Jerry Hausman, 2011. "Managing Product Variety and Collocation in a Competitive Environment: An Empirical Investigation of Consumer Electronics Retailing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(6), pages 1009-1024, June.

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