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Inventory Behavior, Demand, and Productivity in Retail

Author

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  • Maican, Florin
  • Orth, Matilda

Abstract

This paper studies the factors underlying the heterogeneity in inventory behavior and performance across retail stores. We use a dynamic model of multi-product retailers and local competition to estimate store productivity and consumers' perceived quality of the shopping experience, and we analyze their relationship with inventory behavior and product variety. Using novel and detailed data on Swedish stores and their products, we find that stores learn from demand to improve future productivity. Store productivity is the main primitive that increases inventory turnover and product variety, and this increase is larger for stores with already high inventory turnover. Stores in small markets with intense competition from rivals have higher inventory turnover. Consumers in large markets and markets with large investments in technology benefit from a broader product variety. Counterfactual experiments show that the increase in inventory turnover due to innovations in productivity is three times greater when uncertainty in demand is reduced by 30 percent. Our analysis highlights important trade-offs between productivity and demand that allow retailers to reach high levels of inventory turnover and offer a broad product variety to consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2018. "Inventory Behavior, Demand, and Productivity in Retail," CEPR Discussion Papers 13308, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13308
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven Berry & Alon Eizenberg & Joel Waldfogel, 2016. "Optimal product variety in radio markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 463-497, August.
    2. Victor Aguirregabiria, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308.
    3. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-361, July-Aug..
    4. Serguey Braguinsky & Atsushi Ohyama & Tetsuji Okazaki & Chad Syverson, 2015. "Acquisitions, Productivity, and Profitability: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(7), pages 2086-2119, July.
    5. Ackerberg, Daniel & Lanier Benkard, C. & Berry, Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 2007. "Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.),Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 63, Elsevier.
    6. Marcelo Olivares & GĂ©rard 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.
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    8. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2015. "A dynamic analysis of entry regulations and productivity in retail trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 67-80.
    9. Emek Basker, 2015. "Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 339-370, June.
    10. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2009. "On estimating firm-level production functions using proxy variables to control for unobservables," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 112-114, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inventory performance; product variety; productivity; supply chain management;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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