Retailing - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Retailing

Course Number 1952

Senior Lecturer José Alvarez
Winter; Q3Q4; 3 credits
28 sessions
Exam

The EC Retailing course focuses on delivery mechanisms for consumer goods and services. The course will primarily concentrate on retail stores but we will also study web and catalog based businesses. "Delivery" encompasses all activities of the company that have direct dealings with the consumer including, but not limited to, buying, storing, merchandising, selling, store siting, expansion strategies and marketing. Since the course considers all aspects of the management of retail companies, it may be viewed as a general management course.

The EC Retailing course aims to develop students' understanding of retail strategy, retail operations management, innovation in retail, and the key issues impacting growth in retail firms (including exposure to issues facing retailers in international settings). The course will be especially helpful to students exploring careers in a retailing firm. The course is also intended to support the needs of students interested in selling products or services to retailers, private equity investment in retailers, retail consulting or analysis.

The course will begin with a look at the strategic options available to retailers and how the choices made impact the operation of the firm and the financial model of the firm. This is followed by an analysis of branding in retail and considerations in store design and location determination (physical or virtual).

This strategy focus is followed by a module devoted to the operation of retail chains. The module will explore key issues in and tensions between retail supply chain management, store operations, merchandising and procurement management, and customer segmentation/management.

The course then explores issues retailers face when attempting to grow. Students will explore these issues in innovative startups, companies in the midst of rapid growth, companies in mature industries, companies using format differentiation for growth and established companies entering new markets.