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Understanding retail quality of sporting goods stores: a text mining approach

Luke Lunhua Mao (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 25 June 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021




Sporting goods retailing is a significant sector within the sport industry with the total revenue of this sector reaching $52.2 billion in 2018. Beset with formidable competition, sporting goods stores are compelled to augment their merchandise with service and improve retail quality. The purpose of this study is to investigate retail quality of sporting goods stores (RQSGS).


Based on 27,793 online reviews of 1481 stores in the United States, this study used Leximancer 4.0, a text mining software, to identify critical retail quality dimensions associated with sporting goods stores, and further explored the most salient dimensions among different levels of ratings.


Customer service and store aspects are the two higher-order dimensions of RQSGS; holistic experience, manager and staff are three themes under customer service, and product, B&M store and online–offline integration are three themes under store aspects. Furthermore, extreme reviews focus more on customer service, whereas lukewarm reviews focus more on store aspects.

Practical implications

Knowledgeable staff, managers and online–offline integration are instrumental in creating superior retail quality. Sporting goods stores should enhance hedonic and social values for consumers in order to ward off online competitions.


This study explored retail quality dimensions that are pertinent to sporting goods retailing utilizing text mining methods. This study to certain extent cross-validated the existing retailing literature that is developed on alternative methods.



This project was supported by the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.


Mao, L.L. (2021), "Understanding retail quality of sporting goods stores: a text mining approach", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 330-352.



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