A retail store space in luxury fashion functions as a critical marketing point communicating the brand’s intended image. This study explores the symbolic effect of aesthetic factors of retail atmosphere in luxury, focusing on the impact of perceived luxury of interior colors in retail atmosphere on perceived store luxury, consumer emotion, and preference. A total of 218 U.S. consumers participated in an online survey, employing a hypothetical store image reflecting a highor low-luxury retail atmosphere (manipulated through the interior colors). The results statistically support that (a) participants exposed to the high-luxury retail atmosphere condition (of high-luxury colors) report a higher level of perceived store luxury than do the participants exposed to the lowluxury retail atmosphere condition (of low-luxury colors), (b) perceived store luxury increases felt pleasure and arousal but not felt dominance, and (c) felt pleasure and arousal improve store preference.
In the contemporary fashion industry, a retail store space is no longer just for displaying or selling products. Rather, it functions as a crucial branding element, affecting store image. In capturing the overall ambience of store space (Eroglu & Machleit, 1990), retail atmosphere refers to ‘‘the conscious designing of space to create certain effects in buyers’’ (Kotler, 1973, p. 50). A retail atmosphere is believed to exert significant cognitive, attitudinal, and emotional impacts on purchasing (Das, 2014; Levy & Weitz, 2001) by ‘‘drawing consumers in, keeping them engaged, and enhancing their shopping experience’’ (Elliot & Maier, 2014, p. 109). The atmosphere of a retail store space comprises such various sensory elements as color, layout, music, scent, temperature, and odor; each element makes its own contribution to the overall store image (Beverland, Lim, Morrison, & Terziovski, 2006; Bitner, 1992; Das, 2014; Gorn, Chattopadhyay, Yi, & Dahl, 1997; Levy & Weitz, 2001; Turley & Milliman, 2000; van Rompay, Tanja-Dijkstra, Verhoeven, & van Es, 2012). From the consumer’s perspective, the aesthetic factors of retail atmosphere can be most powerful in forming store image due to their visual prevalence (Spence, Puccinelli, Grewal, & Roggeveen, 2014; van Rompay et al., 2012).