The Influence of Sustainable Development on Retail Store Image

  •  Silvia Cacho-Elizondo    
  •  Leïla Loussaïef    


This article explores young consumers’ perceptions of the sustainable development (SD) initiatives of French food retailers and evaluates their impact on the brand image of the retailers and their relationships with consumers. The methodology incorporated the analysis of the websites of the main French food retailers, a press review, eight in-depth interviews and a face-to-face survey. The findings highlight that young consumers tend to link SD more to ecology and less to social and economic issues. When a retailer’s SD actions are perceived and valued, young consumers show an emotional connection that is translated into positive attitudes, purchasing intentions and a willingness to recommend the retailer. When young consumers are not sensitive to SD actions, they continue to choose their retailer on the basis of geographical proximity. Five key dimensions seem to best describe brand image in relation to SD actions: Sympathy, Innovativeness, Human Touch, Responsibility and Opportunistic Behaviour. This last dimension is the only one with a negative connotation. This is because for some consumers, investments in SD are considered to be mostly driven by profit-seeking.

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