Retail stores as brands: performances, theatre and space

Alfons van Marrewijk*, Maaike Broos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The scholars of Consumer Culture Theory studies as well as practitioners have recognised the potential power of spatial design in stores in constructing and communicating retail brands. Retail space and the aesthetic structuring of a range of expressive artefacts have become the stage on which shop attendants perform. This paper focuses on how management and shop attendants of Dutch menswear fashion house Oger communicate and construct the Oger brand, with a special focus on the spatial settings of the retail store. This study shows how the management carefully combines elements generally found in Italian ateliers, English gentlemen's clubs and boardrooms. The symbolic message behind the spatial design of the Oger flagship store is that of human quest for wealth and fame removed from the everyday life. In addition to this earlier observed interplay between design, display and consumption processes, this study indicates the important role of shop attendants in constructing and communicating retail brands. By forging links with organisation studies, we show how retail management carefully designed, managed and orchestrated retail space, objects and shop attendants' roles to construct and communicate the Oger brand. The selling of products through performances in designed theatres connects organisation and economic and aesthetic realms. Finally, the paper introduces "internal design proxemics" as an extra analytical concept of spatial settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-391
Number of pages18
JournalConsumption Markets and Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • brand
  • performance
  • retail store
  • space
  • theatre
  • visual ethnography


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