To Retrench Or Invest? Turnaround Strategies During a Recessionary Time

Manveer Mann, Montclair State University
Sang Eun Byun, Auburn University


By analyzing retail news published between 2008 and 2011, we examined retrenchment and investment strategies employed by retailers in the U.S. in response to the Great Recession. We found four categories of retrenchment (store closings, buyouts, bankruptcies, and pull backs) and five categories of investment (market expansion, product development, service development, strategic partnerships, and corporate social responsibility). Retrenchment decisions were constrained by retailers' financial strength, whereas investment decisions varied with firms' strategic orientations and resource capabilities. Findings of this study enhance theoretical understanding of underlying factors of specific retrenchment and investment decisions that retailers pursued during a challenging economic time.