Warehouse Retailing: A Revolutionary Force in Distribution?

by Albert Bates



This article examines the current status of warehouse retailing. Particular attention is given to the latent strength of existing warehouse retailing firms. It is argued that these firms still possess the ability to make obsolete many conventional channels of distribution. Consequently, they represent a force that should continually be monitored by both manufacturers and retailers alike. Warehouse retailing can best be described as still a relatively small and currently somewhat stagnant segment of the total retail marketplace, with the market shares of the different types of operations not having increased appreciably in two or three years. If warehouse retailing is to regain its excitement and growth, the concept must be revised in light of changing environmental conditions. It is impossible to predict exactly where warehouse retailing is going in the future. But if the major firms in the industry actively try to rethink and reposition their competitive offer, they can recapture lost market share and possibly reestablish the warehouse concept as one of the most exciting retail concepts for the 1970s. If they do so, retailing will continue to be a turbulent sector of the economy for some time to come.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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