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Perceptions and practices of innovation in retailing: Challenges of definition and measurement

Latchezar Hristov (Department of Marketing, Audencia Nantes School of Management, Nantes, France.)
Jonathan Reynolds (Said Business School, Oxford Institute of Retail Management, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purposes of this paper are to develop a more complete understanding both of the characteristics of innovation within retail firms and of the ways in which retailers perceive innovation and measure its effectiveness. Whilst there is a broad consensus that innovation is an application of new ideas that stimulate economic performance, the term attracts a wide range of interpretations that are largely contingent upon the context within which innovation occurs.


These aims are achieved through analysis at the level of the firm by means of qualitative research in the form of a series of in-depth interviews with more than 50 senior retail executives and other industry experts internationally.


The research results show that whilst retailers clearly recognise the important role of innovation for successful business performance, innovation in retailing nevertheless possesses a range of sector-specific meanings and measurement approaches that are distinct from more generic understandings of the phenomenon.


Whilst the paper summarises relevant literatures and presents the results of the primary research it also sets out a number of novel conceptual frameworks, which seek better to categorise the perceived meanings of retail innovation and the measurement tools most frequently employed to determine innovation effectiveness in retail firms. The proposed frameworks facilitate future scholarly exploration but are also of use to practitioners as a means of better understanding the nature of innovation within their businesses.



Hristov, L. and Reynolds, J. (2015), "Perceptions and practices of innovation in retailing: Challenges of definition and measurement", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 2, pp. 126-147.



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