Unsaleable Grocery Products, their Residual Value and Instore Logistics

Christina Holweg, Christoph Teller, Herbert Kotzab

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: The aims of this paper are (1) to explore the complexities of regularly implemented as well as irregularly occurring – sometimes improvised – instore logistics processes related to products which are declared unsaleable and (2) to identify the challenges and opportunities in managing instore logistics processes related to unsaleable products in grocery stores. Methodology: We apply an embedded case study approach. Within each case, i.e. dominant store format, we investigate the instore logistics processes of 32 retail and wholesale stores and focus further on those processes related to products declared unsaleable. The case study research methodology comprises in-depth interviews with store and category managers, point-of-sale observations and secondary data research. Findings: We identified four different specific instore logistics processes depending on the residual product value of unsaleable products. The analysis of these processes suggests that establishing more efficient return, disposal, recycling and, most importantly, redistribution processes leads to various benefits such as cost savings, more effective and efficient operations, better use of resources and waste reduction, while at the same time supporting charitable institutions and people in need. Contribution: The contribution of this research is (1) to provide a better understanding of different ways of seeing and handling unsaleable products and (2) to reveal the significant importance of focusing on instore logistics beyond the point of sale with respect to the economic, ecological and social benefits to retailers, wholesalers and their stakeholder groups. Keywords: instore logistics, retail logistics, case study research, food waste;
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634 - 658
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number6/7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502019 Marketing
  • 502023 NPO research
  • 504
  • 504003 Poverty and social exclusion

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