Retail Case Studies

Overview:  This section contains manuscripts related cases in retailing.

Ashinger, P, “Importance of Timing in Retailing -- The Merchandising of Desert Storm”
ACRA, Spring 1993.A demonstraton for the need for accurate timing and speed in producers’ and retailers’ responses to societal trends and popular culture. Desert Storm and the resulting retail frenzy is used as an example.

Bastow-Shoop, Holly E. and  Larry F. Leistritz, “Impact of the Farm Crisis on Rural Retail Business”, ACRA.This paper exhibits data from business operators in 6 North Dakota rural communities. It is concerning the effect of the poor farm economy on local business. It suggests possible causes and solutions.

Burns, David J and Diane Ciba and E. Terry Deiderick ,ACRA Spring  1998 .The objective of this study is to examine the issue of channel power with one industry - the automotive industry. This was accomplished by exploring the historical dimensions of channel power, examining the changes occurring in automobile distribution and promotional methods.

“The Catalogia Story” ,ACRA, Spring 1984.A brief explanation of the history and concept of Catalogia, an innovative world wide electronic catalogue shopping retailer.

Copeland, Katherine  & Pauline Sullivan, “Experiential Appeals: Home Furnishings Retail Advertising”, ACRA, Spring 2004, Orlando. This paper uses semiotic analysis to examine how a home furnishings retailer uses experiential advertising appeals (hedonic and utilitarian) to target two different generational market segments. Two catalogs, targeted to different market segments, Generation Y and Baby Boomers developed by a national home furnishings retailers provide the advertisements for analysis. Data analysis reveals retail advertisers communicate different messages to appeal to specific target market groups, such as Generation Y and Baby Boomers. The findings support Kim’s (2001) assertion that successful advertiser should incorporate experiential retailing concepts into their merchandising strategies.

Donnellan, John , “Hospital Gift Shops as Retail Enterprises”,ACRA Spring  1998 (Washington, DC).The survey questions covered topics relating to sales and profitability, merchandise assortments, management structure, and promotional efforts in hospital gift shops. Questions concerning threats to the viability of hospital gift shops were also included in the survey.

Duganne, David, David Burns and E. Terry Deiderick , “Patrons of Home Centers and Small Hardware Chains: An Exploratory Comparison”,ACRA/NRF January 2000  New York City.Consumers today are faced with a plethora of choices when it comes to these home improvement centers. While some of the smaller competitors have disappeared with the arrival of the larger national chain center, some have survived, and even flourished. "The purpose of this study… is exploratory in nature…and examines the patrons of (these) chain home centers and small hardware stores." The focus of this study is "how do the patrons of these stores differ?"

Harp, Shelley S.. “Beef Consumption Patterns: Implications and Opportunities for Causal Dining Restaurants”.The objective of this research was to assist in the development, introduction, and marketing of a new beef product into the Texas foodservice market. Focus group interviews were conducted by researchers to investigate trends in beef consumption, restaurant patronage, appetizer preferences and to obtain sensory perceptions regarding the beef appetizer with causal dining restaurant consumers and kitchen managers in Lubbock, Texas.

Hart, Brigid M.and  Dawn Thorndike Pysarchik , “Business Planning: A Comparison of Retailers in Tourism-Dependent and Nontourism-Dependent Locations”,ACRA, Spring 1989.When the business planning dimensions and level of sophistication of tourism-dependent and nontourism-dependent (control group) were compared, it was determined that tourism-dependent retailers were not unlike other small non-tourism-dependent retailers in their business planning profiles. Both groups were predominantly operational planners; more concerned with the day-to-day tactical operations of their businesses than strategic planning.

Kinnaird, Jerry and Mary Cotton, “Wal-Mart: A New Frontier” ,ACRA, Spring 1986
An extensive description of the rise and present position of Wal-Mart based on secondary sources and company report.

Landry, Timothy , “Community Embeddedness and Retail Patronage” , ACRA Spring , Montreal 2003,The framework presented in this paper addresses how community embeddedness helps retailers to ensure community patronage.  Based on this framework, empirical results are discussed that demonstrate the value of a retailer being embedded within the community.

Levenson, Lawrence A.,“A Comprehensive Study of Joslins Management Training Program: Findings, Recommendations, Implementation”,ACRA, Spring 1988 .The study summarizes interviews with employees of Joslins concerning training practices, strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement.

Miller, John D and Sanger-Harris, “An Evolving Department Store Structure: A case study for the 90's”,NRMA, January 1984.This speech, given at the January 1984 NRMA meeting, describes the unsatisfactory organization structure at a large department store along with the process for developing a new structure and its results. The job of "buyer" was completely redesigned and a commitment was made to support both buying and selling as the key activities of the firm. This was the first public disclosure of the organizational changes which had completely restructured the store since 1978.

Levenson, Lawrence A., “Utilization of a Retail Skills Test for Practitioners - Can Analysis Reveal Areas for Remedial, Instruction”,ACRA, Spring 1987.A skills test given to trainees, department managers, & buyers of Joslins. The study shows that many have a lack of understanding of the open-to-buy system. The test can be given to evaluate what skills an employee is lacking.

Robeck, Jacquelene, “Consumption Patterns of Infants' Wear Buyers and Retailers”,ACRA, Spring 1985.A study of the infants' wear purchase patterns of Amherst, Massachusetts, a town of 33,000. The findings are largely descriptive, but include limited recommendations for merchandising. The paper could be an example for students on how to gather data for retail decision making.

Schulz, Steven A and Marquardt, Raymond A, “Outshopping Behavior in Rural Areas: A Snapshot of the Big Meadow”,ACRA, Winter 1995.This paper summarizes the results of four studies on shopping behavior in Western Kansas. In particular, the shopping behavior of four rural counties with nearby shopping centers is addressed.

Shlagel, Beth and  Kinnaird, Jenny , “Recent Home Buyers: Active Consumers in the Home Furnishings Retail Market,ACRA, April 1992, Dallas.This study examines the extent to which households who have recently purchased a primary residence have made home furnishings decisions. The study is specifically designed to determine: 1) the types of home furnishings selected; 2) the retailer of the home furnishings; and 3) the timing of these selections in relation to the time the home was purchased.

Sternquist, Barbara , “Community Solidarity and Activeness: Perceptions of Rural Retailers”,Working Paper,The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of the role of community activeness and solidarity in the success of rural retail firms as retailers in rural communities have experienced declining sales and business failures due to penetration of rural markets by retail giants, changes in transportation , changes in income levels, spending patterns, etc.

Bibliography of Cases , “University of Western Ontario Retail Case Materials, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario”, Canada,An annotated list of retailing cases that have been developed by the University of Western Ontario. The majority of the cases would be applicable to retailing in the United States, while other would bring a clear international flavor to the class. Actual cases can be ordered from the University of Western Ontario

“Wal-Mart Buy American Program”,ACRA, Spring 1986 23 pp. = $1.15
A presentation of internal memos, press releases and news clippings relating to the new (1985) Wal Mart commitment to buy American made goods. A basis for an interesting "case" on the broader economic role of retailing.
Consumer Satisfaction and the Performance of Upholstery Fabric: An Example of Industry - University Cooperation

Warfield, Carol L,ACRA, Winter 1985.A model of a joint research effort between a university and a furniture manufacturer which has significant implications to retailers in terms of product quality and the consumer response to the implied and actual quality of the products.

Warshaw, Martin R., C. Merle Crawford and Robert M. Tank , “Improving Manufacturer-Dealer Relation in the Office Furniture Industry”,ACRA, Fall 1984.This article discusses possible conflicts in the trade channels, which distribute office furniture. It also suggests some possible solutions to these problems.

Wijnholds, Heiko de B. and Michael W. Little, “Sears Financial Network: Market Support and Consumer Reaction” ,ACRA, Spring 1985.This study evaluates the performance of selected Sears Financial Network Outlets, estimate market support, gauge consumer reactions, analyze financial planning activities, determine retail shopping preferences, and compare planned and actual target markets.

Wijnholds, Heiko de B. and Michael W. Little, “Sears Financial Network: Market Support and Consumer Reaction”,ACRA, Spring 1985.A survey of 200 consumers indicates that there is a substantial basis for support for the Sears financial system, particularly among the traditional Sears customers.

Witter, Brenda Sternquist, and Bonnie Davis, “The Tourist Dependent Retailer: Who is Surviving the 1980's Economy?” ,ACRA, Spring 1985.A study of the economic attitudes of tourist dependent retailers in Michigan in 1980. Retailers with more positive attitudes toward the economy employed fewer people, but also varied their employment level less than those who were less optimistic.