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The retail accordion and assortment strategies: an exploratory study

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Retailer merchandise assortments need to be constantly reviewed and developed to retain existing and attract new customers. Diversification and specialization are two extreme assortment strategies which are periodically pursued by retailers, forming the basis of the retail accordion theory. While this theory attempts to synthesise the patterns of diversification and specialization, empirical research into the factors explaining variations in diversification and specialization decisions tends to be sparse and anecdotal. This paper focuses on the rationale behind the contrasting assortment strategies of two retail sectors. It presents an exploratory study of ten UK retail multiples. The results of in-depth interviews with senior managers are discussed, the possible constraints on portfolio innovation are determined and the retailer perceptions of the extent of diversification are identified.
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Keywords: ASSORTMENT; MERCHANDISE STRATEGY; RETAIL ACCORDION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-04-01

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