Are fashion supply chains capable of coopetition? An exploratory study in the UK

Piyya Muhammad Rafi-Ul-Shan, David B. Grant, Patsy Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fashion supply chains are characterised by pressure for low cost and short lead times and face increasing requirements for social and environmental compliance. Hence, fashion retailers have recognised a greater need for collaborating with competitors in upstream supply chain activities, despite competing against each other downstream in the marketplace. This notion of ‘coopetitive’ relationships, a nascent research area, motivated this paper’s case study of six UK-headquartered fashion companies to explore how and why they engage in areas of coopetition interaction and their management of inherent tensions in these relations. Capacity sharing, communication and information sharing, and building relationships/partnerships emerged as motives. The companies exhibited a processual approach to coopetition against a challenging landscape of institutional tensions, which included retailer pressure and organisational structures. Despite risks of opportunism, coopetition was found to be a useful strategy and highly influential for competitive advantage and sustainability in this volatile and dynamic industry sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Research and Applications
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2020


  • Coopetition
  • United Kingdom
  • case study
  • fashion supply chains
  • supply chain sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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