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Market power and regulation: The last great US department store consolidation?

Wood, S and Wrigley, N (2007) Market power and regulation: The last great US department store consolidation? International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 35 (1). 20 - 37. ISSN 0959-0552

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Abstract

Purpose – To examine the impact of the merger of the two largest US department store companies on the competitive state of the sector and specifically the anti-trust implications of the consolidation. Approach – Based on semi-structured interviews with leading US department store executives as well as an ongoing close dialogue with US retail analysts. Findings – The consolidation raises considerable anti-trust issues with the creation of a $30bill sales company. Consistent with previous recent rulings, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted a broad view of the department store market from the standpoint that the consolidation is essentially defensive – in short, the sector is failing because it is not a separate and distinct market. However, the divestiture of 75 stores will give competitors footholds in new markets thereby changing the geography of competition in many catchments. This is likely to be the largest consolidation that the competition authorities will effectively allow, representing the last opportunity for the sector to become a more robust competitor against alternative formats that have intervened in its key product lines. Originality/Value – Recent restructuring of the US department store industry has generated a relatively limited academic literature, despite considerable M&A activity, subsequent organisational reorganisation, and sales of $88 bill per year. Transformation of the competitive landscape of the industry raises important issues of market regulation and corporate strategy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Economics and Law > Surrey Business School
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 03 May 2012 17:30
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 19:13
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/209764

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