Project Information

The objective of the research project is to provide the first comprehensive overview of the situation of social supermarkets (SSMs) in Europe in 2014. The project comprises six key steps, i.e., a literature review on alternative retailing formats, desk research on the existence of SSMs across Europe (EU 28), an international survey amongst store managers of SSMs in countries where SSMs are operating, and analysis of data. These steps will be followed by presentations at academic and non-academic conferences and publication of data. The variables of the above-mentioned survey comprise retail marketing instruments including channel design and implementation, key organizational aspects, consumer data, and store characteristics. A redemption rate above 50% was made possible by the close cooperation with respective nonprofit headquarters, such as the Red Cross, Caritas, or other charity organizations.

Following preliminary results, more than 1,000 stores of this new type of retailer do exist in countries such as France, Austria, Belgium, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Luxembourg, or Romania. The number of new store openings has significantly risen since the economic crisis in 2008 and is still growing. The concept of SSMs shows variations across organizations and countries with respect to the offer of services, products, sources of supply, or marketing communication instruments. The project is interdisciplinary in the areas of retailing and nonprofit marketing. Key milestones of the research project (2012 to present):

  • Step 1: Literature Review (finalized)
  • Step 2: Empirical Study 1: Desk research on SSMs (finalized): To investigate the existence of social supermarkets in European countries we used expert interviews, electronic research, conference meetings, and active field work.
  • Step 3: Empirical Study 2: Field research (finalized): The survey amongst managers of SSMs in Europe was conducted in 2013 across the respective countries based on a standardized, 8-page questionnaire. It comprises all key variables related to retailing, distribution, or organizational aspects.
  • Step 4: Analysis of data (ongoing)
  • Step 5: Presentation (planned)
  • Step 6: Publication (planned)


© Holweg & Lienbacher, 2014