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Appears in Collections:Marketing and Retail eTheses
Title: Customer and company perspectives of store positioning: A study of the UK specialist menswear fashion sector
Author(s): Birtwistle, Grete
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The UK market in fashion retailing is recognised as being the most concentrated in the world and companies in this sector are constantly striving to improve their market share and profitability. To do this requires a strong market position, which is developed, maintained and communicated to the target customer. This thesis explores the key issues of consumer and retailer perspectives of store positioning, how customers and retail employees perceive this image; and how image variables can be manipulated to defend or enhance market positioning. It concludes by developing a framework to indicate how image can be strategically managed. The literature review commences by setting out the historical perspective of the study of consumer behaviour and discusses a number of models, which aim to explain shopper attitude towards store and product selection. It moves on to investigate the attributes contributing to store image perception and to explore a number of methods of measuring store image. Past and current trends in retailing are examined and marketing strategies in the formation of retail image are discussed. The methodological pluralism used to obtain, generate and analyse data, is justified and results from four separate research phases. The exploratory research phase utilised qualitative methods to identify factors contributing towards store choice. In the second phase a multi-attribute model was applied to data to measure consumer and retail staff perception of store image. Furthermore, the congruence of customer and employee perception was evaluated. The third phase considered how con'sumers make store choice decisions by trading off attributes and allowed segmentation of sub-groups of customers with similar purchasing characteristics. The fourth phase used an interpretative approach to understand and compare key marketing strategies for two retailers. The conclusion highlights the issues that retailers have to manage in a fragmented market of consumers with high expectations of product quality, customer service and store environment. The research identifies that store choice factors vary not only between sectors but also significantly within sectors and shows product quality to be the prime factor. In addition, employee store image perception is acknowledged to be a useful indicator of customer purchase intention and the research emphasises the importance of companies having an organisational culture, which nurtures employee attitudes, motivation and skills to anticipate consumer behaviour and to provide quality service.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Management Education Centre

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