Joint inventory and markdown management for perishable goods with strategic consumer behavior

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-134
Journal / PublicationOperations Research
Issue number1
Online published30 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


In this paper we formulate and analyze a novel model on a firm's dynamic inventory and markdown decisions for perishable goods. We consider a dynamic stochastic setting, where every period consists of two phases, clearance phase and regular-sales phase. In the clearance phase, the firm decides how much to order for regular sales, as well as whether to markdown some (or all) of the leftover inventory from the previous period that will be disposed otherwise. Since strategic consumers may buy the product during clearance sales for future consumption, markdown may cannibalize future sales at regular price. Hence, the firm needs to make a trade-off between product spoilage and intertemporal demand substitution. We show that the firm should either put all of the leftover inventory on discount or dispose all of it, and the choice depends on the amount of leftover inventory from the previous period. In particular, the firm should introduce markdown when the amount of leftover inventory is higher than a certain threshold, and dispose all otherwise. We also conduct numerical studies to further characterize the optimal policy, and to evaluate the loss of efficiency under static policies when compared to the optimal dynamic policy.

Research Area(s)

  • Intertemporal substitution, Inventory, Markdown, Revenue management

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