Retail Assortment Planning Under Category Captainship

33 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2010

See all articles by Mumin Kurtulus

Mumin Kurtulus

Vanderbilt University - Operations Management

Alper Nakkas

University of Texas at Arlington

Date Written: January 9, 2010


Retail assortment planning can have a tremendous impact on a retailer's bottom line performance. Over the past years, retailers have increasingly relied on their leading manufacturers for recommendations regarding the assortment to be offered to the consumers in a particular category, a practice often referred to as category captainship. Our research investigates the consequences of using category captains for assortment selection decisions. We develop a game theoretic model where multiple manufacturers sell their products to consumers through a single retailer. We compare a model where the retailer selects the assortment in the category with a model where the retailer relies on a category captain for assortment decisions in return of a target category profit. We show that category captainship can, in some circumstances, benefit not only the retailer and the category captain but also the non-captain manufacturers. Our results have implications regarding the implementation of the category captainship practices.

Keywords: category management, category captainship, retailing, supply chain, assortment, retail variety

Suggested Citation

Kurtulus, Mumin and Nakkas, Alper, Retail Assortment Planning Under Category Captainship (January 9, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Mumin Kurtulus (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Operations Management ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Alper Nakkas

University of Texas at Arlington ( email )

Arlington, TX
United States

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