Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relevance of retailer country‐of‐origin (COO) on consumers’ actual choice between foreign and domestic retailers. It explores two basic issues regarding the relevance of COO, first to assess consumer perceptions regarding the importance of retailer COO (PIO) and the importance of supporting domestic retailers (PISD) in store choice decisions. The second is to analyse the influence of these factors on store choice decisions. Relative influence of PIO and PISD (compared to the retail mix factors) was also evaluated. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected through a consumer survey targeting grocery consumers in a second‐tier city in China. Factor analysis and binary probit models were used to analyse the data. Findings – The authors found that a considerable proportion of respondents perceive retailer COO and being supportive of domestic retailers as important factors when choosing between foreign and domestic retailers. Interestingly, results of probit analysis showed that consumers’ perceived importance of retailer COO (PIO) did not have a significant impact on consumer store choice behaviour. In contrast, consumers’ perceived importance of supporting domestic retailers has a negative effect on consumers’ choice of foreign retailers. Results of the relative contribution of retail mix factors and COO variables showed that generally, COO variables are as important as retail mix factors. Originality/value – This study is one of the few empirical studies on the relevance of retailer COO and it focused on two basic issues concerning the consumer perceptions regarding the importance of retailer COO, seldom studied previously. This study makes a significant contribution to the COO literature not only because it focuses on the retailing context but also by providing a fresh perspective.
International Marketing Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 2, 2014
Keywords: China; Country‐of‐origin; Store choice; Retail internationalization
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