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M(Art)Worlds: Consumer Perceptions of How Luxury Brand Stores Become Art Institutions

Annamma Joy, Jeff Jianfeng Wang, Tsang-Sing Chan, John F. Sherry and Geng Cui

Journal of Retailing, 2014, vol. 90, issue 3, 347-364

Abstract: Through an ethnographic study of how consumers perceive and experience Louis Vuitton flagship stores, we show that luxury stores are becoming hybrid institutions, embodying elements of both art galleries and museums, within a context of exclusivity emblematic of luxury. We create the term “M(Art)World” to capture the essence of this aesthetically oriented strategy. Participants take note of the company's sleekly elegant architecture, interior design, and adroit use of lighting that are modelled after those of museums housing world-class exhibits. The store's merchandize is artisanal, often produced in collaboration with artists. Objects for sale are displayed alongside actual art, rendering both products equivalent. Employees function as curators, offering guidance and knowledge, as well as goods for sale. We analyze how luxury consumers experience and evaluate the ways in which luxury stores operate as contemporary art institutions, and extrapolate those insights into managerial implications for other retail venues.

Keywords: Luxury; Luxury brand aesthetics; Retail brand aesthetization; Consumer perceptions; Art; Artists; Corporate art patron; Museums; Louis Vuitton (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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