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The role of the flagship store location in luxury branding. An international exploratory study

Elisa Arrigo (Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS), University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore the strategic role of the flagship store geographic location in improving luxury brand positioning.


Drawing on the literature review on flagship store format, retail geography and place marketing, the study adopted a qualitative research design based on case studies of six luxury fashion retailers. A conceptual framework of flagship store location has been proposed, and the flagship store locations of these case studies have been examined in six worldwide capitals.


The presence and the geographical proximity of many flagship stores in the same particular urban area contribute to developing a “luxury sense of place” related to their brands. Thus, through a co-branding strategy inherent in the selection of the best site for their flagship stores, luxury firms improve their brands’ positioning by the generated “luxury sense of place”.

Research limitations/implications

The principal limitation of the research is the scale of the case studies, but the findings show the feasibility of extending the research basis to a larger number of luxury retailers.


This study addresses an under-researched area in the retail literature, investigating the relationship between flagship store location and luxury branding. It is the only research to explore the social dimension of the geographic location of luxury flagship stores and the first one to examine cities in terms of flagship store density.



Arrigo, E. (2015), "The role of the flagship store location in luxury branding. An international exploratory study", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 6, pp. 518-537.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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