Handbook of Research on Retailing
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Handbook of Research on Retailing

Edited by Katrijn Gielens and Els Gijsbrechts

The advent of e-commerce and the rise of hard discounters have put severe pressure on traditional retail chains. Boundaries are blurring: traditional brick & mortar players are expanding their online operations and/or setting up their own discount banners, while the power houses of online retail are going physical, and hard discounters get caught up in the Wheel of Retailing. Even successful companies cannot sit back and rest, but need to prepare for the next wave of change. In the face of this complexity, it is all the more important to take stock of current knowledge, based on insights and experience from leading scholars in the field. What do we know from extant studies, and what are the ensuing best practices? What evolutions are ahead, and will current recipes still work in the future? This Handbook sheds light on these issues.
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Chapter 9: Product unavailability

Els Breugelmans, Els Gijsbrechts and Katia Campo


Product unavailability is a frequently occurring and universal issue, and a major concern for retailers and manufacturers alike. In this chapter, the authors focus on product unavailability within a consumer packaged goods context, taking the perspective of the retailer. They distinguish between four types of unavailability based on their timing (temporary versus permanent) and scope (narrow versus broad): out-of-stocks, permanent assortment reductions, brand delistings and conflict delistings. These four product unavailability types significantly differ not only in their nature and underlying causes, but also in the (prevalence of) response options available to consumers, and the ensuing sales losses for the retailer. Building on extant literature, the authors discuss the factors that moderate the sales implications of different unavailability types, and the managerial actions that may mitigate their negative impact. Finally, the authors also highlight several substantive and methodological issues that remain currently unaddressed and constitute a fruitful future research agenda.

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