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An ethnocentric perspective of foreign multi-brand retail in India

Diptiman Banerji (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata, India)
Prashant Mishra (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata, India)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 9 March 2018

Issue publication date: 9 April 2018




The purpose of this paper is to understand the ethnocentric tendencies of Indian consumers towards foreign multi-brand retailers (FMBRs), and the influence that such ethnocentrism has on their attitudes towards, and future purchasing behaviour from, these international retailers.


The paper used a mall intercept method with a randomised data collection process to secure data from 119 organised retail shoppers in a major metropolitan Indian city. The analysis was carried out using analysis of covariance, bootstrapping mediation, multiple regression analysis, and Johnson’s relative weight analysis.


Two main results are as follows: concern for livelihoods of small retailers and a perception that earnings of foreign retailers are unjust are revealed as the most significant drivers of negative attitude towards FMBRs, and although high ethnocentric customers have a strong negative attitude towards FMBRs, they are open to the idea of making future purchases of goods that are not available with small retailers, from the foreign retail outlets.

Research limitations/implications

The study sample is from a single metropolitan city, albeit one which serves as a miniature version of the Indian society. As a limitation, the results might not be generalisable to small, non-metropolitan Indian towns.

Practical implications

These results provide valuable input regarding the marketing strategy and sustainability of foreign retailers planning to launch operations in India. For example, FMBRs should position themselves as not being in competition with existing small retail shops by offering a different array of products. Further, younger and more educated Indians are the least ethnocentric towards FMBRs, thus making them an attractive target segment.


Extant research has studied consumer ethnocentrism of Indian consumers towards foreign brands and products, but not towards FMBRs. This paper attempts to fill that research gap.



The first author is grateful to Dr Krishanu Rakshit, in whose doctoral seminar class the idea for this paper germinated, and to Dr Saravana Jaikumar for his help on previous drafts of the manuscript. The authors are thankful to the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. The authors also thank Deborah Gray for copy editing an earlier version of the manuscript.


Banerji, D. and Mishra, P. (2018), "An ethnocentric perspective of foreign multi-brand retail in India", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 230-246.



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