How Should a Firm Manage Deteriorating Inventory? (ed.2)
Ferguson, Mark E.
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Firms selling goods whose quality level deteriorates over time often face difficult decisions when unsold inventory remains. Since the leftover product is often perceived to be of lower quality than the new product, carrying it over offers the firm a second selling opportunity, but at a reduced price. By doing so, however, the firm subjects sales of its new product to competition from the leftover product. We present a dynamic model that captures the effect of this competition on the firm's production and pricing decisions. We characterize the firm's optimal strategy and find conditions under which the firm is better off carrying all, some, or none of its leftover inventory. We also show that the price of the new product is independent of the quality level of the leftover product.