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Too Large or Too Small? Returns to Scale in a Retail Network


  • Frantisek Brazdik
  • Viliam Druska


Performance in retailing is usually evaluated by routine use of ratio analysis, but due to the univariate nature of this simple management tool there are many drawbacks to the obtained results. Therefore, the aim of this study is to demonstrate successful employment of parametric and non–parametric methods for evaluating technical performance in retailing. We also show how to utilize DEA results, when parametric methods do not satisfactorily perform due to their strict distributional assumptions. Results of this study are used to optimize the retail chain of a European mobile telecommunication network operator by providing estimates of and recommendations for improvements in the productive efficiency of the chain operations. Estimates of store–level technical and scale efficiency indicate that a majority of stores are operating in the decreasing returns to scale region of the production possibility set. The employed methodology allows us to identify input excesses and to address a means of reducing them.

Suggested Citation

  • Frantisek Brazdik & Viliam Druska, 2005. "Too Large or Too Small? Returns to Scale in a Retail Network," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp273, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp273

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
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    Data envelopment analysis application; linear programming; ef-ficiency; retail units;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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