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Retailers have been struggling with out-of-stocks for decades – with little evidence of improvement. Just what causes the problem? How big is it? And could we, at last, be able to tackle it?

“Stock-Outs Cause Walkouts” (PDF available at http://hbr.org/2004/05/stock-outs-cause-walkouts/ar/pr)

Retailers find stock-outs annoying, just like everybody else. But they live with gaps in their inventory because they figure the fix is more expensive than the problem. After all, they tell themselves, when customers can’t find the products they’re after, they’ll usually substitute similar items for the missing ones. Maybe some profit will be lost in the swap, but that’s a marginal cost of doing business. Right?

“Out-of-Stocks: Unraveling the Gordian Knot”

Retailers have been struggling with out-of-stocks for decades – with little evidence of improvement. Just what causes the problem? How big is it? And could we, at last, be able to tackle it?

“Rising to the Challenge of Out-Of-Stocks”  (PDF available here)