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.

Shopping: the cost of living crisis – Q&A with The Conversation

In between graduation ceremonies last Friday (as we caught up with the pandemic impacted ceremonies of 2020 and 2021), I was interviewed by Steven Vass of The Conversation about the cost of living crisis and Shopping. The result is a … Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Confidence, Consumers, Cost of Living, Discounters, Food, Food Banks, Food Retailing, Inflation, Local Retailers, Office for National Statistics, Pricing, Retail Sales, Retailers, Shopping, The Conversation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Departing Stores and Place Vandalism

“Loss of local identity is a powerful factor that can influence the social and economic wellbeing of a town. By preserving the fabric of distinctive historic buildings, particularly those as prominent as former department stores, residents can recover a sense … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, City Centres, Department Stores, Design, Edinburgh, Heritage, High Streets, Historic Shops, Marks and Spencer, Oxford Street, Places, Town Centres, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Town Centre Action Plan Launch and Roadshows

It was good to get back out and about and to be in Galashiels on the 31st May for the launch of the Town Centre Action Plan.  Last Autumn I wrote about the Great Tapestry of Scotland and its stunning … Continue reading

Posted in Government, Great Tapestry of Scotland, Local Authorities, Localisation, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Non-domestic rates, Place Based Investment Programme, Place Principle, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Co-operative Group Results 2021

A few weeks ago I was asked to provide a short analysis on the Co-operative Group’s results for 2021. This has now been published in Coop News. I repost it below. If nothing else it shows the impact of the … Continue reading

Posted in Availability, Community, Cooperative Group, Cooperatives, Covid19, Food Retailing, Membership, Retailing, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why is Historical Research Important in Marketing?

A couple of years ago I was invited by a good friend of mine to contribute to an inaugural special issue of a journal. Professor Kazuo Usui (Saitama Gakuen University), a frequent visitor to Stirling and Edinburgh (where he is … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Consumer Change, Consumers, Data, Diaries, Food Retailing, History, Retail Change, Retail History, Retailers, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Small Business Bonus Scheme

One of the recommendations of the 2017 Barclay Review of the Non-Domestic Rates System in Scotland was that an evaluation of the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) be undertaken. Five years on, it has finally arrived, all 232 pages of … Continue reading

Posted in Barclay Review, Government, Internet, Large Store Levy, Legislation, Local Authorities, Non-domestic rates, Online Retailing, Out of Town, Public Policy, Rates, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Small Business Bonus Scheme, Small Shops, Tax, Town Centres | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Town Centre Action Plan 2

This is a rather longer post than I had intended, but given I worked pretty hard for 8 months on the Report to which the Response has just been published, I hope you will indulge me. In 2020 I was … Continue reading

Posted in Car Use Reduction, Climate Emergency, Government, High Streets, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Place Based Investment Programme, Place Principle, Planning, Public Policy, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, town centre first, Town Centre Living, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Understanding Scottish Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

At the Heart of Economic Transformation? The City Centre Recovery Task Force Report

There can be little doubt that the pandemic has affected city centres to a far greater extent than many places. City centre businesses and organisations depend on residents, visitors, tourists and workers for their footfall and trade. When lockdowns occurred, … Continue reading

Posted in Aberdeen, Cities, City Centres, Consumer Change, Dundee, Edinburgh, Employment practices, Footfall, Glasgow, Local Authorities, Lockdown, Pandemic, Place Principle, Retailing, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Town Centres, Towns, Understanding Scottish Places, Urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Retail Strategy for Scotland – Launch Day Questions to the Minister

As noted in my previous post, on the 24th March the Scottish Government published its Retail Strategy for Scotland and the Minister Tom Arthur MSP launched it in Parliament that afternoon.  The Strategy can be downloaded here and the Ministerial … Continue reading

Posted in BIDS, Bids Scotland, Consumer Change, High Streets, Independents, Local Authorities, Local Retailers, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Places, Public Policy, Retail Change, Retail leadership, Retail Policy, Retail Productivity, Retail Strategy, Retailers, Scotland, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Small Shops, Strategy, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Retail Strategy for Scotland

On the 24th March, the Scottish Government unveiled its long-awaited Retail Strategy for Scotland. The Strategy can be found here and the Ministerial statement from Tom Arthur MSP can be found here. Getting the Right Change: A Retail Strategy for … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Bids Scotland, Community, Consumer Change, Employment, Government, Internet shopping, Just Transition, Local Retailers, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Places, Public Policy, Retail Policy, Retail Strategy, Retailers, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Retailing, Shopping, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centres | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments