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.

Brexit isn’t Delivering

Neil Saunders provides a valuable service by culling newspapers on a daily basis for retail stories and putting them up on his twitter feed. This saves time for me and also provides a good snapshot of retail sentiment (He does … Continue reading

Posted in Availability, Brexit, Christmas, Consumers, Covid19, distribution, Employment, European Union, Frictionless, Government, Logistics, Next, Panic buying, Referendum, Retailers, Supply Chains, Wages, Warehouses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland – The Recovery : A Turning or Tipping Point for Towns

Holyrood Events (@HolyroodEvents) have invited me to speak at a conference this week. As can be seen from the poster above, the conference is on “Scotland – The Recovery”. They have asked me to speak on the issue of towns … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Community, community wealth building, Covid19, Government, Healthy Living, Internet shopping, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Online Retailing, Places, Recovery, Regeneration, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Social Inequality, Sustainability, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gardening Year in Review

I don’t often use the blog for non-retail or personal posts but made an exception this time last year.  At the start of lockdown in March 2020 I started a weekly tweet about my greenhouse and last September I reflected … Continue reading

Posted in Covid19, Food, Gardens, Home, Lockdown, Seeds, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Discount Food Stores in the UK: Kwik Save and Shoprite

Following on the recent post on Axe Stores, I have dug out some of my early slides on Kwik Save and Shoprite and their stores. I have written academically on both of these companies, quite some time ago.  For anyone … Continue reading

Posted in Albert Gubay, Aldi, Axe Stores, Bridge of Allan, Cooperatives, Discounters, Food Retailing, Kwik Save, Lidl, Netto, Retail Failure, Retail History, Retailers, Shoprite, Wm Low | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Town Centres in Wales: Bounded Muscularity?

A few months ago I, together with Phil Prentice (STP), had a long discussion with representatives of Audit Wales around enhancing town centres.  This came in the wake of the review I chaired, and the report I authored, for the … Continue reading

Posted in Car Parking, Government, High Streets, Out of Town, Places, Regeneration, Retail Change, Retail Policy, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Small Towns, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Understanding Scottish Places, Understanding Welsh Places, Wales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Convenience Stores and the Covid-19 Pandemic

This afternoon I am very pleased to be presenting at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation in Glasgow.   The novelty of doing this F2F is slightly offset by the wisdom of doing so, not because of what I … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Consumer Change, Convenience, Convenience stores, Covid19, Essential Retailing, Food Retailing, Independents, Internet shopping, Local Retailers, Lockdown, Pandemic, Panic buying, Retailing, Scottish Grocers Federation, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Axe Stores (this is a description not an instruction)

At the end of July I received an email from a freelance journalist, Steve Cain, seeking any information on Food Giant and Axe Stores. In normal times I know I had material somewhere in my office on Food Giant.  But … Continue reading

Posted in Aldi, Axe Stores, Closure, Corporate History, Discounters, Food Retailing, Hintons, Historic Shops, International Retailing, Kwik Save, Laws Stores, Lidl, PAM Group, Retail Failure, Retail History, Retailers, Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels

A good few years ago, Anne Findlay and myself published a paper on the changing retail structure in the Borders using longitudinal data.  We titled this ‘Weaving new retail and consumer structures in the Scottish Borders,’ reflecting the weaving history … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Community Assets, Culture, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Exhibitions, Great Tapestry of Scotland, High Streets, New Towns, Places, Regeneration, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Borders, Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, Streetscapes, Thomas Lipton, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Against All Odds” – Independent Business Success Stories

Over the last decade or so Bill Grimsey has carved out a niche in directing a review team to look at high streets, town centres and retailing and to present ideas for what we should do about improving them.  Summarising … Continue reading

Posted in Bill Grimsey, Closure, Covid19, Finance, Government, Home Delivery, Independents, Innovation, Local Retailers, Online Retailing, Rates, Retailers, Retailing, Small Shops, Start-ups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Economic Trends in the Retail Sector, Great Britain: 1989 to 2021

In late July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) produced a short article on economic trends in GB in the retail sector since 1989, examining how retail sales fit in with the wider economic climate, including over time, long-term trends … Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Change, Covid19, Food Retailing, Internet shopping, Lockdown, Longitudinal Data, Office for National Statistics, Online Retailing, Retail Change, Retail Economy, Retail Sales, Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment