Perceived importance of retail store image attributes to the female large-size apparel consumer in a multicultural society

Janse van Noordwyk, H. S. (2002-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An opportunity currently exists for retailers to develop store image strategies to target the female large-size apparel consumer market within the multicultural South African consumer society. This exploratory study set out to generate and describe retail store image attributes perceived as important to the female large-size apparel consumer within the South African context, as well as identifying differences and similarities in the perception of these attributes based on race and age group. The study also aimed to determine if the existing store image attribute groupings by Lindquist (1974-1975:31) is applicable when studying the female largesize apparel consumer. Focus groups were used as method of data collection in this study. The sample population (n=37) consisted of account holders who purchased apparel from a specific large-size apparel retail store during a specific time period. Three race groups, namely Africans, Coloureds, and Whites, as well as three age groups i.e. 20-29, 30-39, and 40-54 year age groups were included. Each focus group was homogenous in race and age composition. A facilitator conducted group discussions by following a focus group schedule. The first part of the discussion generated retail store image attributes deemed important by the focus group participants, followed by the rating of the perceived importance of these attributes using the Schutte Visual Scale. The second part of the discussion generated participants' description of Lindquist's nine identified store image attribute groupings, followed by the rating of the perceived importance of each of these attribute groupings using the Schutte Visual Scale. Transcriptions of all the focus group discussions were made. For the first part of the study the transcriptions were compiled into composite lists and refined based on Lindquist's nine attribute groupings. The aggregate ratings for each specific attribute and attribute grouping were calculated. For the second part of the study's results, the descriptions of each of Lindquist's nine attribute groupings was compiled into a single list of descriptive attributes. The aggregate ratings for each of these attributes groupings were calculated. Respondents perceived Merchandise and Clientele the most important attribute groupings in the analysis of all race and age groups, followed by Service, Post-transaction satisfaction, Promotion and Store atmosphere. Institutional factors and Physical facilities were perceived as the least important attribute groupings. No attributes relating to Convenience were generated. In the analysis of race and age groups, Merchandise and Service, followed by Store atmosphere, were perceived as the most important attribute groupings by most of the focus groups. The specific attributes generated by the different groups showed similarities, whereas the rating and definition of these attributes differed. Lindquist's descriptions of the nine attribute groupings were compared to the descriptions of the respondents. Similarities and differences were identified. Recommendations were made to refine and adapt Lindquist's attribute groupings and descriptions to develop a store image research framework that could be more applicable to the female large-size apparel consumer. This exploratory study provides some insight into the perceived importance of retail store image attributes by the female large-size apparel consumer, given the context of a multi-cultural South African society. Recommendations for future research were made and the implications for retailers were outlined.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar bestaan tans 'n geleentheid vir kleinhandelaars om 'n winkelbeeld strategie te ontwikkel wat gemik is op die vroulike groter figuur kledingverbruiker binne die multikulturele Suid- Afrikaanse verbruikersamelewing. Hierdie verkennende studie poog om kleinhandel winkelbeeldeienskappe wat deur die vroulike groter figuur kledingverbruiker binne die Suid- Afrikaanse konteks as belangrik beskou word, te genereer en te beskryf, sowel as om die verskille en ooreenkomste in persepsies van die belangrikheid van hierdie eienskappe tussen ras en ouderdomsgroep te identifiseer. Die studie het ook ten doeI om te bepaal of die bestaande winkelbeeldeienskap groeperinge, soos deur Lindquist (1974-1975:31) voorgestel, toepaslik is wanneer die vroulike groter figuur kledingverbruiker bestudeer word. Fokusgroepe is as metode van data-insameling gebruik. Die steekproef (n=37) was rekeninghouers wat aankope gedoen het by 'n bepaalde groter figuur kledingkleinhandelaar binne 'n spesifieke tydsperiode (n=37). Drie rassegroepe naamlik Swartes, Kleurlinge, en Blankes, sowel as drie ouderdomsgroepe te wete 20-29, 30-39, en 40-54-jariges is ingesluit. Elke fokusgroep was homogeen in ras- en ouderdomsamestelling. 'n Fasiliteerder het die fokusgroepbesprekings gevoer deur 'n fokusgroepskedule te volg. Die eerste deel van die bespreking het kleinhandel winkelbeeldeienskappe, wat deur die fokusgroepdeelnemers as belangrik beskou is, gegenereer. Dit is gevolg deur die meting van die respondente se persepsie van die belangrikheid van hierdie eienskappe met behulp van die Schutte Visuele Skaal. Die tweede deel van die bespreking het beskrywings van Lindquist se nege winkelbeeldeienskap groeperinge gegenereer en is gevolg deur die meting van respondente se persepsie van die belangrikheid van hierdie eienskap groeperinge met behulp van die Schutte Visuele Skaal. Transkripsies is van al die fokusgroepbesprekings gemaak. Vir die eerste deel van die studie is die transkripsies in lyste van spesifieke eienskappe saamgestel en georden volgens Lindquist se nege eienskap groeperinge. Die gemiddelde waarde vir elke spesifieke eienskap sowel as vir die eienskap groepering is bereken. Vir die tweede deel van die studie is beskrywings van elk van Lindquist se nege eienskap groepering saamgestel in 'n enkele lys van beskrywende eienskappe. Die gemiddelde waarde vir elk van hierdie eienskap groeperinge is bereken. Respondente beskou Goedere (Merchandise) en Kliëntebasis (Clientele) as die belangrikste eienskap groeperinge in 'n analise van alle ras- en ouderdomsgroepe, gevolg deur Diens (Service), Na-verkoop tevredenheid (Post-transaction satisfaction), Promosie (Promotion) en Winkelatmosfeer (Store atmosphere). Institusionele faktore (Institutional factors) en Fisiese fasiliteite (Physical facilities) is die minste belangrik. Geen eienskappe wat met Gerief (Convenience) verband hou, is gegenereer nie. In die analise van ras- en ouderdomsgroepe is Goedere en Diens, gevolg deur Winkelatmosfeer, as die belangrikste eienskap groeperinge beskou deur meeste van die fokusgroepe. Die spesifieke eienskappe wat deur die verskillende groepe gegenereer is, dui op ooreenkomste, terwyl die gemiddelde waarde en fokus van die eienskappe verskil. Lindquist se beskrywings van die nege eienskap groeperinge is vergelyk met die beskrywings van die respondente. Ooreenkomste en verskille is geïdentifiseer. Voorstelle is gemaak om Lindquist se eienskap groeperinge en beskrywings te verfyn en aan te pas ten einde 'n winkelbeeld navorsingsraamwerk te ontwikkel wat meer toepaslik is op die vroulike groter figuur kledingverbruiker. Hierdie verkennende studie bied insig in die vroulike groter figuur kledingverbruiker se persepsies van die belangrikheid van kleinhandel winkelbeeldeienskappe, gegewe die konteks van 'n multkulturele Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing. Aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing word gemaak en die implikasies vir kleinhandelaars is uitgewys.

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