A Topology of Strategic Choice in Retailing

  • Mudambi S
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Abstract

Retailers face a multitude of strategic choices, with varying levels of risk, profitability and societal impact. Sifting through these options is a daunting task. In the literature, strategies have been successfully categorized using grids and matrices. Reviews first the strategy matrix approach, especially as applied to retailing; then introduces a topology of strategic choice in retailing which provides a way to assist retailers to think and manage strategically. The topology configures strategies into four directions: internal, horizontal, vertical and migrational. Internal strategies reside at the intraorganizational level and encompass various differentiation and time strategies. Horizontal strategies are expansionary and include choices on outlet numbers, internationalization, mergers and joint ventures. Vertical strategies turn the firm towards its suppliers and include supplier acquisition and improved buyer-supplier relations. Migrational strategies are extraterritorial and involve radical changes of direction such as changes in outlet size category, location type and outlet type. Recognizing the synergistic interactions within and between the strategic directions is an important aspect of the analysis.

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