The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: change of editor

The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: Vol  31, No 5

As many will know, I have been involved in editing journals for a very long time.  In particular I have been associated with the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research since its inception.  For the last few years I have been looking to step down as editor and have finally achieved this goal.  I have just completed the publication of the final issue under my editorship.

In the final issue under my tenure I have allowed myself the luxury of an editorial looking back over the founding and development of IRRDCR.  The editorial – origins, reflections and ending – started out as a brief goodbye, but somehow turned in a 6000 word musing on retail academic journal publishing, the rise of metrics on journals and academics and the changing nature of the academic endeavour (and its management).  Some of this I view as positive, but other changes have had a damaging impact on the subject and its study, and on journal (and other forms of) publication.

I don’t intend to summarise in depth the editorial here (and it is too long to provide), but if you are interested then the first 50 people should be able to download the final published version from here. A pre-proof version is provided as a pdf here.

I will provide though a brief description of its contents.  The first section provides details of the origins of IRRDCR (and why it is such a mouthful) arising as it did from the break-up of the relationships behind the short-lived International Journal of Retailing.  This section also explains the particular approach we (Founding Editor Professor John Dawson and I) stood for and tried to champion, arising from a distinctive European approach to retail research and a counterpoint to the approach to academic retail research in the United States.

The second section provides two sets of reflections; first on the editorial process and then secondly on retail research itself.  The IRRDCR began in pre-email and pre-internet times and ends where everything (almost) is automated.  There are benefits and drawbacks to this, and I discuss some of them.  Retail research itself has altered as the wider pressures of academia and its management of the ‘research process’ have taken their toll.  Again, I reflect on these changes and the stresses and strains they produce (as well as the benefits). I hope that through all this, IRRDCR has tried to reflect a more engaged and interesting agenda, but fear the trends are too powerful.

Anyhow, the International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research is now in new editorial hands, Professor Ulf Johansson from Lund University, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.


Leigh Sparks (2021) Editorial – origins, reflections and ending. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 31, 5, 499-510.

About Leigh Sparks

I am Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, where I research and teach aspects of retailing and retail supply chains, alongside various colleagues. I am Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. I am also a Deputy Principal of the University, with responsibility for Education and Students.
This entry was posted in Academics, Editorship, Education, IRRDCR, Research, Retail Research, University of Stirling and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: change of editor

  1. Steve Wood says:

    That is a really interesting history, Leigh. I did not know the background to the births of IRRDCR and IJRDM. Your contribution has, of course, been immense and I know appreciated so many retail scholars across the world. Thank you!

  2. Leigh Sparks says:

    Thanks for your kind comments Steve. The origins are in the mists of time and I thought it might be worth writing them down as many people may not have realised. Certainly those that saw the editorial in draft form expressed the same reaction on that as you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s