Murphy Stores: Capital Projects
Murphy Stores is a field case involving a major retailer deciding whether to allocate $7 million of its remaining (and limited) capital budget to either an investment in RFID technology to reduce merchandise theft from stores, or to invest in new energy-efficient store lighting to reduce operating costs and be better for the environment, or some combination of the two. The two alternative investments focus on making financial improvements in two different aspects of Murphy Stores' operations: decreasing "shrink" due to theft and saving on electricity costs. The case offers the opportunity to learn about retail industry operations as well as to make multiple full NPV discounted cash flow analyses. This case offers the opportunity to discuss trade-offs between selecting lower-risk capital projects and higher risk projects with higher expected returns but more variability in potential outcomes. The case illustrates the importance of sensitivity and scenario analysis in project evaluation.