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Returns System with Rebates


  • Tatsuhiko Nariu
  • David Flath
  • Atsuo Utaka


The demand for goods like seasonal fashion apparel is uncertain but the lead time needed for production is long, and so it is necessary to set the production quantity before the demand is fully known. Once sale begins, if demand is less than anticipated, the price will be low. In a futile attempt to avoid losses themselves, a competitive retail industry selling such merchandise will order too little, which will diminish the producer profit. A returns system is one response but it has problems also. Under a returns system in which retailers are fully reimbursed by the producer for any unsold merchandise, retailers will set their order quantities at the highest level allowed, which is also sub-optimal. So what to do? A slightly more sophisticated returns system is the answer. We show that a returns system with rebates implements the optimal production and sales strategy, attaining maximum expected profit in the channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Tatsuhiko Nariu & David Flath & Atsuo Utaka, 2009. "Returns System with Rebates," ISER Discussion Paper 0744, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0744

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    • Tatsuhiko Nariu & David Flath & Atsuo Utaka, 2012. "Returns System With Rebates," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1243-1256, November.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Howard P. Marvel & Hao Wang, 2007. "Inventories, Manufacturer Returns Policies, and Equilibrium Price Dispersion under Demand Uncertainty," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 1031-1051, December.
    2. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    3. Marvel, Howard P & Peck, James, 1995. "Demand Uncertainty and Returns Policies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(3), pages 691-714, August.
    4. Deneckere, Raymond & Marvel, Howard P & Peck, James, 1997. "Demand Uncertainty and Price Maintenance: Markdowns as Destructive Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 619-641, September.
    5. D Flath & T Nariu*, 2000. "Demand Uncertainty And Resale Price Maintenance," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(4), pages 397-403, October.
    6. Flath, David & Nariu, Tatsuhiko, 1989. "Returns policy in the Japanese marketing system," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 49-63, March.
    7. Mathewson, G F & Winter, R A, 1983. "Vertical Integration by Contractual Restraints in Spatial Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 497-517, October.
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