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Sales and Advertising Rivalry in Interwar US Department Stores

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Scott

    () (School of Management, University of Reading)

  • James Walker

    () (School of Management, University of Reading)

Abstract

Department stores represented one of the most advertising-intensive sectors of American inter-war retailing. Yet it has been argued that a competitive spiral of high advertising spending, to match the challenge of other local department stores, contributed to a damaging inflation of costs that eroded long-term competitiveness. We test these claims, using both qualitative archival data and establishment-level national data sets. Returns to stores’ advertising are shown to have fallen over the period, while own advertising led to retaliatory advertising by rival department stores, which substantially lowered returns on advertising dollars in the 1930s (but not the 1920s).

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Scott & James Walker, 2010. "Sales and Advertising Rivalry in Interwar US Department Stores," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2009-05, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2009-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Department stores; Interwar U.S. economic history; Advertising; Marketing;

    JEL classification:

    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising
    • N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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