Modeling retail chain expansion and maturity through wave analysis: Theory and application to Walmart and Target

Lawrence Joseph, Michael Kuby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines retail store deployment through the analysis of waves. Based on concepts originally developed in coastal geomorphology and adapted to medical geography, a theory of retail chain expansion and maturity is presented whereby retailers expand in waves with alternating periods of faster and slower growth. Using a space-time matrix of new store openings, four stages are identified: prospective, deploying, saturation, and revisiting. By analyzing the net change from one period to the next at increasing distances from a retailer's original store, the stages can be represented as swash, backwash, and re-swash waves. Target and Walmart adopted dissimilar strategies, with Walmart diffusing gradually from Arkansas and Target growing from the coasts inward. They were similar, however, in that after expanding into an area they reached a point of saturation and opened fewer stores, then moved on to other areas, only to revisit the earlier areas for new store deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Geospatial Research
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Fingerprint

maturity
wave runup
medical geography
saturation
modeling
geomorphology
geography
matrix
coast
analysis

Keywords

  • Business geography
  • Diffusion
  • Expansion
  • Maturity
  • Modeling
  • Real estate
  • Retail location
  • Temporal
  • Walmart
  • Waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

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abstract = "This article examines retail store deployment through the analysis of waves. Based on concepts originally developed in coastal geomorphology and adapted to medical geography, a theory of retail chain expansion and maturity is presented whereby retailers expand in waves with alternating periods of faster and slower growth. Using a space-time matrix of new store openings, four stages are identified: prospective, deploying, saturation, and revisiting. By analyzing the net change from one period to the next at increasing distances from a retailer's original store, the stages can be represented as swash, backwash, and re-swash waves. Target and Walmart adopted dissimilar strategies, with Walmart diffusing gradually from Arkansas and Target growing from the coasts inward. They were similar, however, in that after expanding into an area they reached a point of saturation and opened fewer stores, then moved on to other areas, only to revisit the earlier areas for new store deployment.",
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