UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The application of electronic data processing to department store retailing Belak, Robert Gregory


The primary purpose of this thesis is to investigate the problems involved in adapting electronic data processing equipment to aid the fashion merchandising departments of retail department stores. In order that this application is placed in its proper perspective, it is also necessary to delve into some of the more fundamental concepts underlying the management planning and control function, to emphasize the relationship of management science methods and electronic data processing equipment to business problems in general, and to survey the operating characteristics of retail stores and the problems they face when introducing electronic data processing equipment. Preceding the discussion of the fashion merchandising application is a chapter on the organization of retail department stores that promotes a better understanding of the institutional framework within which one is working. Both primary and secondary research were undertaken to obtain the required information. The rather sparse literature published on this topic in the retailing field was supplemented by interviews with numerous retail executives of the four major department store chains in the Greater Vancouver area. Relevant literature from other fields of business was also brought into the discussion. This thesis supports the wider use of electronic data processing equipment to solve the increased data handling problems that have been experienced by retail department stores. In addition it is felt that this equipment can play an important role in providing merchandising personnel with information that could lead to improved performance of their functions. However, a greater improvement in performance in fashion merchandising, and in fact all retailing areas, will be realized when there is a more precise definition of the information required and when data handling systems are designed accordingly.

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