The Club Store Effect: Impact of Shopping in Warehouse Club Stores on Consumers' Packaged Food Purchases


Authors: Kusum L. Ailawadi, Yu Ma and Dhruv Grewal

Publication: Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming


This article studies the impact of shopping at the warehouse club format on households' packaged food-for-home purchases. In addition to low prices, this format has several unique characteristics that can influence packaged food purchases. The empirical analysis uses a combination of households' longitudinal grocery purchase information, rich survey data, and detailed item-level nutrition information. After accounting for selection on observables and unobservables, the authors find a substantial increase in the total quantity (servings per capita) of purchases attributable to shopping at this format. Because there is no effect on quality of purchases, this translates into a substantial increase in calories, sugar, and saturated fat per capita. The increase comes primarily from storable and impulse foods and it is drawn equally from foods that have positive and negative health halos. The results have important implications for how marketers can create win–win opportunities for themselves and for consumers.

Read abstract: Journal of Marketing Research

Desautels 22

In recognition of research excellence as it relates to publications in top-tier management journals, our Faculty has compiled a list of high quality, peer-reviewed management journals, which is referred to as the Desautels 22.