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Store atmosphere and impulse: a cross-cultural study

Ludmila Bandeira Lima Barros (Departamento de Ciências da Administração, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil)
Martin de La Martinière Petroll (Departamento de Ciências da Administração, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil)
Cláudio Damacena (Programa de Pós Graduação em Administração, Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Marc Knoppe (Kaufmännische Schule, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 23 July 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of store atmosphere on consumers’ positive emotional responses and impulsive purchase behaviour. In addition, it analyses the moderating role of culture characteristics and situational variables on this influence.


The study carried out a quantitative face-to-face on-site survey of a retail fashion brand in two countries, Brazil and Germany. This paper extended the original model of Jung Chang et al. (2014) based on environment, design and social features (staff) by adding store atmosphere factors such as layout, music and lighting (Mohan et al., 2013), thereby defining store atmosphere as the way customers perceive and experience the combination of all those factors.


Data analysis from 313 consumers by structural equation modelling (PLS–SEM) showed that most factors influence consumers’ positive emotional responses, but no significant difference between countries. However, the effect of emotions on impulse purchase behaviour is stronger among collectivist consumers (Brazil) than among individualists (Germany).


This study sheds light on the links between store atmosphere and retail market in Brazil and Germany, framing its conclusions in the context of a comparison between cultures. The paper extends the growing research in the area by exploring the moderating role of the individualism–collectivism dimension of national culture in consumer buying behaviour by comparing the strength of various relationships across shoppers from individualistic vs collectivistic cultures.



Barros, L.B.L., Petroll, M.d.L.M., Damacena, C. and Knoppe, M. (2019), "Store atmosphere and impulse: a cross-cultural study", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 47 No. 8, pp. 817-835.



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