Purpose – We examine how a Korean retail firm’s social responsibility is related to its financial performances. The traditional view of corporation expects a negative relationship, while the stakeholder theory expects a positive one. Research design, data, and methodology – We adopt the ESG score, published by Korean Corporate Governance Service to measure the level of socially responsible activity for the Korean retail firms. The ordinary least square method is adopted to investigate this relationship. The publicly traded retail firms are examined from 2011 to 2016. Results – We find that the total ESG score is negatively related to ROE but shows no statistically significant relationship with ROA and Tobin’s Q value. However, a firm’s environmental score is negatively related with both of ROE and ROA. Its social score is no conclusive relationship with the performance measures. The governance score is negatively related to the value of Tobin’s Q. Conclusions – This paper generally supports the traditional view of corporate theory, especially in terms of ROE. This evidence is not well aligned with the existing study for Korean corporations generally documenting positive relationships. We find almost no empirical evidence supporting the stakeholder theory of corporation in the Korean retail industry,


Corporate Social Responsibility, Financial Performance, Retail Industry.