Essays on Retail Operations Management Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Lee, Hyun Seok
    • Affiliation: Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Under the competitive nature, retailers need to consider numerous aspects to make better operational decisions. Retailers should understand customers’ needs to provide better service; have the right amount of labor to match supply with demand; and anticipate investors’ responses on the announcement of revealing private information such as building excess inventory to maximize retailers’ objective. This dissertation empirically examines these three aspects – customer behavior, labor scheduling, and excess inventory announcement where there appears to be limited empirical research in the literature. I utilize individual retailer’s micro-level proprietary data across multiple stores as well as publicly available firm-level financial data for multiple retailers. In the first essay, I identify a new phenomenon called thwarting behavior, defined as a systematic change in customers’ behavior when they experience congestion that imposes negative externalities on other customers. I provide empirical evidence for the thwarting behavior by analyzing archival data obtained from a retailer and by conducting a field study where I observe customer directly. I then quantify its impact on sales drop by running a field experiment. In the second essay, I examine the impact of incentives for store managers on their labor scheduling decisions. I find empirical evidence that incentive improves outcomes of store managers’ labor scheduling decisions and this finding is mainly driven by effort effect rather than selection mechanism. I also find that the financial incentives have differential impact on underlying decisions that led to the labor scheduling outcomes such as forecasting, labor planning, and execution. In the third essay, I analyze the determinants of excess inventory announcement and the stock market reaction to the announcement in the U.S. retail sector. I find that operationally competent retailers, measured by total factor productivity, have a lower probability of announcing excess inventory in the following year. In addition, the stock market penalizes excess inventory announcements made by operationally competent retailers more severely than those made by their less competent peers. Finally, providing action information, which the firm has taken or plans to take to deal with excess inventory, moderates the negative association between firm’s operational competence and abnormal returns due to the announcement.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Staats, Bradley
  • Kesavan, Saravanan
  • Kuhnen, Camelia
  • Emadi, Seyed
  • Deshpande, Vinayak
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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