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    Desired and perceived identities of fashion retailers

    Cheng, R, Hines, T and Grime, I (2008) Desired and perceived identities of fashion retailers. European Journal of Marketing, 42 (5-6). pp. 682-701. ISSN 0309-0566

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    Purpose: The paper seeks to examine the role of corporate identity in UK clothing retail organisations, focusing on the “fast fashion” sector. The aim is to analyse the “gap” between desired identity and perceived identity within the sector. Design/methodology/approach: An instrumental case study approach was adopted for this research. Companies' web sites and press releases were reviewed to find out the desired identity of organisations, while semi‐structured interviews were carried out with customers to elicit the perceived corporate identity. Themes developed from the cases will form the basis of further research. Findings: This study has shown that although there are similarities, considerable “gaps” are present between the desired and perceived corporate identity of organisations, the latter being more important in understanding the research questions addressed which relate to corporate identity and the gap between desired and perceived identities. A number of propositions have emerged from the findings, which when investigated empirically will be useful for forming corporate identity constructs in the fashion retail sector. Research limitations/implications: This research provides some useful insights into the role of corporate identity within the fast fashion retail sector; however, it is not sufficient to make generalisable claims outside the cases examined. Further research is required to test some of the conceptual issues and propositions raised by this work. Practical implications: The paper gives practitioners better insights into the gap between desired and perceived identity with a view to improving strategic interventions to close the gap. Originality/value: The research makes a contribution to retail identity literature by emphasising the importance of perceived identity. The work is unique in being the first research to explore further the relationship between desired and perceived identity from a fashion retailing perspective. As a consequence the strategic implications from this work for desired identity are highlighted.

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