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Unsaleable grocery products, their residual value and instore logistics

Christina Holweg (Institute for Retailing and Marketing, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria)
Christoph Teller (Department of Marketing and Retail Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom)
Herbert Kotzab (Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 4 July 2016




The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, 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 second, to identify the challenges and opportunities in managing instore logistics processes related to unsaleable products in grocery stores.


The authors apply an embedded case study approach. Within each case, i.e. dominant store format, the authors 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.


The authors 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.


The contribution of this research are: first, to provide a better understanding of different ways of seeing and handling unsaleable products; and second, 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.



Holweg, C., Teller, C. and Kotzab, H. (2016), "Unsaleable grocery products, their residual value and instore logistics", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 46 No. 6/7, pp. 634-658.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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