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Competitive Strategies in the US Retail Industry: Consequences for Jobs in Food and Consumer Electronics Stores

In 2005-07, the authors undertook a set of 16 detailed company case studies in the retail sector, looking at both food and consumer electronics retailers. We sought to answer a set of questions: 1) What different mixes of product and labor strategies are in force in US retail chains? Which mixes function well (in a competitive sense) in what settings? In particular, how so these patterns differ between food and consumer electronics retailing? 2) How important does a "fit" or "match" between product and labor strategies turn out to be, and how successful are companies in achieving such a fit? 3) How do these mixes translate into job quality (better or worse in a cross-sectional sense, improving or deteriorating in a time series sense).

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