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Sustainable Development in Retailing: What is the Impact on Store Choice?


Correspondence to: Moritz Loock, Institute for Economy and the Environment, University of St Gallen, Tigerbergstrasse 2, St Gallen 9000, Switzerland. E-mail:


Sustainability is gaining ground in the food retail industry. But empirical studies on sustainable development in retailing are rare when it comes to highlighting the customer's perspective. This paper investigates the impact of sustainability initiatives on store choice. We report from a web-based conjoint experiment with 153 customers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland and investigate 1224 choice-decisions conducted between June and October 2009. We find that sustainability is more than a soft topic and has a hard impact on customers’ store choice. In particular we show that price is not of paramount importance when it comes to store choice, and if retailers consider different sustainability measures they can have a positive impact on store choice. We propose that retailers incorporate matters of sustainability in general management and performance-oriented management. Further, more detailed implications apply. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment