Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Youn-Kyung Kim

Committee Members

Ann Fairhurst, Heejin Lim, Robert T. Ladd

Abstract

This study aimed to assess consumer behavior towards single-brand apparel retailers by employing the Stimulus-Organism-Response model. In addition to the traditional store atmospheric stimuli of social cues, design cues, and ambient cues, this study introduced merchandise cues as a stimulus within the single-brand apparel retail store. This study also incorporated both cognitive and affective evaluations as consumers‘ internal states. The effect of stimulus on approach-avoidance behaviors was mediated by these internal states. This study also introduced the concept of ‗store as a brand‘ which was evaluated to identify whether consumers considered the single-brand apparel retail store and the merchandise carried by the store to be a single holistic entity. The specific research objectives of this study were to investigate: (1) the effects of store atmospheric cues and merchandise cues on cognitive evaluation toward store and merchandise, respectively; (2) the effects of cognitive evaluation toward store and merchandise on affective evaluation toward store and merchandise, respectively; (3) the effects of cognitive and affective evaluation towards store and merchandise on approach-avoidance behaviors; and (4) the ‗store as a brand‘ concept wherein the paths between the two internal evaluations were postulated to be equal for store and merchandise. This study was conducted in the context of single-brand apparel retailers. A mall intercept survey methodology was employed to collect the data and 438 completed responses were used for the data analyses. All the constructs had acceptable levels of composite reliability and was valid in terms of convergent and discriminant validity. The data were analyzed by using a structural equation modeling approach. Several hypotheses were significant as proposed except vi for a few which were not significant. Design cues were found to have an insignificant relationship with cognitive evaluations toward the store. Cognitive evaluations toward merchandise and affective evaluations toward store were found not to be significant. The results supported the ‗store as a brand‘ concept, thereby validating that consumers do not perceive the store and the merchandise sold by the single-brand apparel retailer to be different from each other. Research implications, managerial implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research were provided.

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