Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)


The topic of store atmosphere is an anomaly within the field of marketing. It is acknowledged to be of importance, but almost no scholarly research has been conducted on the topic. The literature to data supports the idea that store atmosphere is an important component of store image, but provides no guidance as to what forms an appealing atmosphere. This void in the literature lead to an examination of the environmental perception literature within the field of environmental psychology. The present research focused upon only one aspect of store atmosphere, the department store entrance. The research has attempted to isolate the major dimensions of consumer perceptions of department store entrances. The present research proceeded as follows. A set of photographs representing the domain of department store entrances were obtained. These photographs became the experimental stimuli in a series of repertory grid interviews. The results of this exploratory procedure led to the development of a questionnaire suitable for assessing consumers' reactions to department store entrances. This questionnaire was then used to obtain quantitative consumer reactions to the photo set. The major findings were as follows: (1) The major dimension which consumers appear to use in assessing department store entrances are: Formality, Warmth, Organizaton and Openness. (2) Despite the fact that Formality is the first factor, and accounts for a greater percentage of total variance than any other, it appears that Warmth and Organization show the stronger relationships with the consumer's overall affect towards the store, with the consumer's level of pleasure upon viewing the store and with the consumer's level of intent to patronize the store. The results of the research indicate that the department store entrance may be used as a marketing tool. Further, the research provides a research instrument with the diagnostic capability to assist the designer towards this end.