Edited by Emek Basker
This Handbook explores and critically examines current research in economics and marketing science on key economic issues in retailing and distribution. Providing a rich perspective for the discussion of public policy, contributions from several disciplines and continents range from the history of chains and the impact of multinational retailers on international trade patterns; to the US merger policy in the retail context, the rise of the Internet and consumer-to-consumer sales. This state-of-the-art Handbook is an essential reference for students and academics of economics and marketing science and offers outsiders valuable perspectives on operations research, data analytics, geography, and sociology.
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Chapter 15: The evolution of the supermarket industry: from A & P to Walmart
This chapter identifies important economic features of the supermarket industry and highlights their connection to market structure and economic policy. Starting with a historical overview the industry’s evolution, I then discuss the broad determinants of market structure and review several empirical studies that quantify their importance. I go on to consider the various empirical studies that quantify the extent to which supermarket firms exploit this structure to prevent entry or maintain high margins. Finally, I discuss the growing literature on the competitive impact of Walmart, emphasizing the connection to market structure and the mechanisms of supermarket competition.
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