Author Archives: Leigh Sparks

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.

E-commerce: economic growth and empowerment of women and girls

This evening (18 January) I am a member of a panel at an online Royal Society of Arts (RSA) event looking at the topic of female growth and empowerment in the field of e-commerce.  The invitation came from Ann-Maree Morrison … Continue reading

Posted in Amazon, Climate Emergency, e-commerce, Education, Entrepreneurship, High Streets, Independents, Internet, Internet shopping, Multichannel, Office for National Statistics, Online Retailing, Retailers, Retailing, Small Shops, Town Centres | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Conversation: UK Retailers Christmas Trading Updates

The University of Stirling is a supporter of The Conversation and I published a piece there on the 12th January about the recent UK retailer trading updates from Christmas. I reblog it below. The starting point for the piece was … Continue reading

Posted in Aldi, Christmas, City Centres, Consumer Change, Consumers, Cost of Living, Covid19, Discounters, Grocery, High Streets, Independents, Internet shopping, Local Retailers, Market Shares, Marks and Spencer, Next, Retailers, Retailing, The Conversation, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Changing Climate through Ice and Seeds

I try to use my break at Christmas and New Year to catch up on some reading that is non work based (whether administrative or academic work). A couple of books had caught my eye some weeks ago and they … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Climate Emergency, Community, Food, Gardens, Home Growing, Ice, Real Seeds, Scotland, Seeds, Snow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2022: the stirlingretail.com year in retrospect

This time of the year I normally produce my last post and look back at the activity on the blog during the calendar year. My reviews for 2020 and 2021 covered the two years with the most visitors the site … Continue reading

Posted in 1977, Bristol Pound, Cooperative Tokens, Department Stores, Food Retailing, Grocery, Local Authorities, Market Shares, MIlk, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Places, Planning, Retail Change, Retail History, Retail Strategy, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Stirling, Stirling Council, Tesco, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Review, Urban History, Who Owns Scotland? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings 2022

As Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) I get to put a Christmas message in the final bulletin of the year which goes out to members. This is an appropriate opportunity to reflect briefly on the last year generally and for STP … Continue reading

Posted in Bids Scotland, Christmas, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Christmas and the Cost-of-Living Crisis: How will retailers cope?”

The past two year’s holiday seasons were tough for the UK’s retail sector, with lockdowns and resulting changes in consumer behaviour. I covered the previous Christmas periods in two pieces for the Economics Observatory (2020 and 2021) and followed this … Continue reading

Posted in Aldi, Brexit, Christmas, Consumers, Cost of Living, Costs, Discounters, Economics Observatory, Energy Costs, ESRC, Food, Food Retailing, Inflation, Lidl, Market Shares, Places, Retailers, Retailing, Shopping, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Owns Scotland’s Towns, High Streets and Shopping Centres?

One of the issues raised in the recent report by the Economy and Fair Work Committee of the Scottish Parliament concerned the lack of transparency over the ownership of much of the property in Scotland. I noted this in the … Continue reading

Posted in Community Ownership, Dumfries, Government, High Streets, Landlords, Legislation, Local Authorities, Midsteeple Quarter, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Out of Town, Place Based Investment Programme, Retail Change, Retailers, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Shopping Centres, Streets, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Urban, Vacancies, Who Owns Scotland? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Inquiry into Retail and Town Centres in Scotland

In January 2022 the Economy and Fair Work Committee of the Scottish Parliament began its preparation and work into its “Inquiry into Retail and Town Centres in Scotland”.  As this blog has covered before, I gave evidence to the Inquiry … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Barclay Review, BIDS, High Streets, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Non-domestic rates, Out of Town, Place Based Investment Programme, Place Principle, Retail Change, Retail Strategy, Retailers, Retailing, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Tax, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centre Living, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Out-of-Town Retailing: National Planning Framework (NPF) 4 and Stirling (again)

The 8th November saw the publication of the revised National Planning Framework 4 – the national spatial and planning strategy for Scotland. It will now be the subject of further parliamentary discussion before hopefully being approved. This revision is the … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Asda, City Centres, Climate Emergency, Food Retailing, Land Use Planning, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Out of Town, Place Principle, Retail Impact Assessments, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Sequential Approach, Spatial Planning, Stirling, Stirling Council, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centres | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Scotland’s Towns Conference 2022

Three long years after the last such event, we were finally able to host Scotland’s Towns Conference in person. On Wednesday 16th November a sell-out crowd of over 220 people made their way to the impressive Centrestage in Kilmarnock (Scotland’s … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Community Assets, community wealth building, Creative Places, Digital, High Streets, Land Use Planning, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Places, Retail Change, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Streets, Streetscapes, town centre first, Town Centre Living, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments