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Title: Management of the e-retail supply and distribution network : a resource-based view of the UK grocery sector
Author: Mkansi, Marcia
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2013
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The motivation of this research emerged as a reaction to imbalances in the UK grocery retailing market. In 2012-2013, total grocery retail sales amounted to £163.2 billion (bn), of which £5.6bn (3%) was generated through the online channel. Offline sales which amounted to £157.6bn are greater than all total combined non-grocery retail sales for the same period. Notably, online grocery sales of 3.4% posted the lowest percentage compared to all other segments of non-grocery e-retailing. The problem lies with challenges associated with managing supply and distribution of e-groceries, which constitute one of the greatest barriers to grocery e-retailing. These challenges led Somerfield to close its e-operations. This further heightens the online-offline grocery imbalances as only few grocery retailers are able to sustain their online operation. Of the 24 grocery e-retailers with more than ten stores in the UK, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose (ASTW) continue to stamp their authority in the market. Studies that examined the e-operations of ASTW attribute their cutting edge practice in grocery e-retailing to an overwhelming difference in resources (stores). It is the fundamental principles such as store assets that have seen Tesco’s pioneering in-store model outperform rivals in penetrating the market. These findings more than anything, have galvanized this research interest into deeper understanding of stores and managerial capabilities from a resource-based view (RBV). The study examines the four case studies (ASTW) using a mixed method approach to reduce the methodological challenges inherent in the RBV theory. Respondents were purposively sampled and responses were elicited using semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal the value of the resources from RBV perspective, and the prominence and interdependence of chain resources in creating sustainable competitive advantage (SCA). The study developed a resource-based strategy that may minimise some of the challenges, especially the cost of supply and distribution. Although the findings provide a RBV of stores and managerial capabilities in grocery e-retailing, the extent of value is limited to access and disclosure of sensitive information. Future studies must assess SCA, in partnership with the organisation to avoid the latter limitations. It is anticipated that the findings will pave the way for future research in e-retailing through contribution to both knowledge and practice. From the perspective of knowledge contribution, the research empirically tested the robustness of RBV using mixed method in the context of the grocery sector. Meanwhile, the developed strategy is also highly valuable in practice, in that it could offer useful insights for practitioners to better improve the efficiency and resilience of their e-retailing adoption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available