Highlighted publication

Epic Aspects of Retail Encounters: The Iliad of Hollister

Stephen Brown, Lorna Stevens, Pauline Maclaran (2018). Journal of Retailing, 94 (1), pp 58-72


Much has been written about myth and the marketplace. Consumer research has added immeasurably to academics’ appreciation of the myths that inhere in fabulous flagship stores and experiential retailing more generally. Studies of consumer mythopoeia, however, have tended to muffle the martial side of retailing, the heroic struggles that some customers undergo in-store. This article argues that the epic offers valuable insights into martial matters, and more. Although epic and myth overlap, they are far from identical. The former is characterized by conventions that can help illuminate consumers’ quests, not least their disturbing journeys through the underworld. These are considered in relation to Hollister (HCo), a phenomenally successful retail chain that’s renowned for its antithetical atmospherics and inky interior design. A qualitative study of Hollister lovers and haters casts light on the epic in action and adds to scholars’ understanding of immersive retailing experiences.