Retail reverse logistics: A call and grounding framework for research

  • Bernon M
  • Rossi S
  • Cullen J
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Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by emerald-srm:517640 [] For Authors If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald for Authors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visit for more information. About Emerald Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes, as well as providing an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services. Abstract Purpose – From a synthesis of empirical findings and literature, the aim of this paper is to present a conceptual framework for managing retail reverse logistics operations. The framework is designed to assist both practitioners and academics in better understanding the key management aspects involved. The paper also identifies some future research directions that are derived from this conceptual framework. Design/methodology/approach – The study was exploratory and motivated by a grounded theory approach aimed at providing a conceptual framework for managing retail reverse logistics. Findings – Retail reverse logistics operations are multi-faceted and need to be managed as an integrated supply chain activity. Three overarching management dimensions are proposed; operational performance, organisational integration and management reporting and control. Research limitations/implications – This is an inductive piece of research and it is important to recognise that only analytical generalisation is claimed rather than any statistical generalisation. Also, the study was undertaken in the context of the UK retail sector and therefore further comparative work could be undertaken in different international contexts. Practical implications – The adoption of the framework will have impact on practitioners by assisting them in reducing the volumes of products being returned, lower their reverse logistics operational costs and increase their product asset recovery values. Originality/value – Although there is a growing body of literature relating to retail reverse logistics it is fragmented by multiple perspectives. There is little in terms of frameworks that embody the management aspects involved. Having reviewed the literature the authors' empirical results show that, in some areas, practice leads theory and therefore the findings will add to academic discourse.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Grounded theory
  • Retail
  • Reverse logistics
  • Supply chain management
  • United Kingdom

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