2021 : the stirlingretail.com year in retrospect

My reflections this time last year noted that in the ten years of running this blog, 2020 had seen it attract the most visitors in a year.  2020 saw more than 70% more visitors than any previous year.

Well, the volume in 2021 has matched that of last year and even seen a few hundred more visitors.

In looking at the posts that attracted that volume in 2020 I divided them into three sections. First, was food retailing change, which included the top post (on grocery market shares in the UK 2020).  Second, and not at all surprisingly was the impact of Covid.  Then third were what I called the outliers (and included posts on Co-operative Tokens and London’s Welsh Dairies).

I concluded that 2021 was bound to be better but we had to reinvent places to attract people.

The top posts in 2021 bear a striking similarity to those of 2020 with only 4 new posts making the top 10.  Some of my old posts have an enduring appeal it seems (or people still can’t quite believe what they are reading). As last year I can perhaps categorise the top 10:

Food Retailing Change

Two posts make the top ten using the Kantar data, but not my 2021 update post.  The top post again is Grocery Market Shares in the UK 2020, supported by Twenty-One Years of UK Grocery Retailing Change (#4). There remains an interest in these market share reports, probably mainly from students, with UK a bigger search term than GB.

A New Future for Scotland’s Towns

Not surprisingly the release in February 2020 of the report of the review of the Town Centre Action Plan, chaired and written by myself, drew a lot of attention.  Three posts on the blog made the top 10; the webinar on the launch (#6), my introduction to the report (#7) and a post that summarised the main recommendations of the report (stop doing harm to our town centres – #10). Given the full report is available from the Government and the Review websites, this seems a reasonable coverage.

Retail Change

A pair of posts on aspects of current retail change provide a further strand, one positive and one negative.  The former on the new wave of town centre cinemas came in at #2, whilst a post on John Lewis Leaving Aberdeen, was post #8.  Two very different views on the reinvention of places we need.

The Outliers (or history?)

As last year the top 10 is filled out with some outliers.  Two are the same as last year, and all three have an historic dimension.  London’s Welsh Dairies has had an even stronger (#3) year than 2020 (#6) whilst the post on Co-operative Tokens, Sports Direct and the Bristol Pound again did well (#5 not #4).  The new post in this heading/strand – Retail change or why we fell in love with supermarkets (#9) – could be in the retail change section, but with its historical bias perhaps belongs here.

When I wrote last year’s summary I thought 2021 would be better than 2020, and it has been in so many ways.  But it has been challenging on so many levels, in so many ways, and particularly for the retail sector.  Let’s hope 2022 is a Happy New Year.

When it looked like things were getting better – my one and only face to face presentation in 2021 (at the SGF Annual Conference)

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 Aberdeen, Cooperative Tokens, Covid19, Food Retailing, History, John Lewis Partnership, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Pandemic, Public Policy, Retail Change, Retail History, Retail Policy, Retailers, Retailing, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Retailing, Social Renewal, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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