Updated A.Y. 2018-2019


Distribution management mainly refers to business processes of dealing with flows of physical products and information along the supply chain.

The course aims to introduce students to the subject of distribution management from a strategic and a functional perspective. Particular emphasis will be given to the comprehension of the retail functions and formats as well as to the dynamics in the vertical relationships between retailers and manufacturers. Large-scale retailers and modern distributors definitely became significant competitive forces in the task environments as they are closer to the final market than producers. Accordingly, students will acquire conceptual understanding of marketing practices implemented by retailers, through which these are capable of gathering information on customers’ preferences as well as of influencing their behaviours.

Students will also be provided with practical knowledge and examples about how physical distribution processes are structured and managed in specific industries (i.e. grocery food, fashion & luxury, home furniture, etc.). Furthermore, the provision of a general outlook about the role of ICT is fundamental to understand the digital transformation in the buyer-seller relationships as well as with the final consumers. Indeed, e-commerce (or e-tailing) has contributed to speed and amplify the interactions between manufacturers, distributors, logistics operators, and customers, stressing the need for an even more increasing efficiency in planning, ordering, warehousing, and delivering of goods. As a matter of fact, a variety of important managerial practices is under consideration by retailers to rule the distribution processes along the B2C channels, such as Efficient Customer Response, and Supply Chain Management. The opportunity to comprehend and evaluate such emerging models from a theoretical and empirical point of view is valuable to students for a better understanding of modern retailing.



Theme I: Concepts and Players in Retailing

  • Session 1: Retail Functions
  • Session 2: Retail Formats – Food, Near-Food and General Merchandise
  • Session 3: Online Retailing and Cross-channel Retailing
  • Session 4: New Competitors – Vertical Strategies of Manufacturers
  • Session 5: New Competitors – Verticals and Vertical Retailers

Theme II: Marketing in Retailing

  • Session 6: Growth Strategies
  • Session 7: Store Location – Trading Area Analysis and Site Selection
  • Session 8: Merchandise and Category Management
  • Session 9: Pricing & Marketing Communication
  • Session 10: Instore Marketing
  • Session 11a: Customer Relationship Management

Theme III: Logistics in Retailing

  • Session 11b: Buying - Strategy and Concepts
  • Session 12a: Logistics – Physical Distribution
  • Session 12b: Logistics – Supply Chain Management and Information Management

Theme IV: Retailing industries and companies

  • Session 13: Case studies
  • Session 14: Case studies


  • Zentes J., Morschett D., and Schramm-Klein H., 2016, Strategic Retail Management: Text and International Cases, 3rd edition, Springer Gabler, Weisbaden (all, except the following chapters which are optional:  8, 9, 10, 20) 
  • Other integrative materials may be uploaded on the course website.



The teaching methods employed include a combination of traditional lectures, in-class discussions, and case studies.