Luxury Retail Environments And Changing Masculine Sociocultural Norms

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Nacima Ourahmoune


Retailing, Masculinity, Luxury Stores, Semiotic Square, Communication, Gender


This article explores how luxury brands communicate with male shoppers through their retail environments in the context of changing sociocultural definitions of masculinity. While Bain and Company (2012) speak of the ‘masculinization of the luxury market’, consumer research has paid little attention to men and masculinity (Otnes and Tuncay-Zayer, 2012). Most previous studies have tackled male representations in advertising and the tensions felt by male shoppers. This article extends this limited body of knowledge to retailing issues. It compares masculine archetypes with the discursive strategies used by retailers to target new male consumers. Using a semiotic square analysis the author reveals five masculine archetypes emphasized by luxury brands in their retail environments and discusses their implications. The findings show that most brands rely on traditional utilitarian representations of masculinity in stores, missing opportunities to renew their communication to take advantage of changing masculine values.


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