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.

Fighting Fit? Independent Convenience Stores and the Public Health Agenda

The last 2019 Cross Party Group for Independent Convenience Stores, held last week, was a cracker.  With all the excitement of the AGM (not really), it was almost too much to have three excellent presentations on retailing and the public … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Alcohol, Best Start Foods, Convenience stores, Cross Party Group, Deposit Return Scheme, Diet and Health, Food Retailing, Food Standards Scotland, Government, Healthcare Retail Standard, Healthy Living, Independents, Internet shopping, Legislation, Local Retailers, Politicians, Products, Regulation, Retail leadership, Retail Policy, Scotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Local Retailer, Scottish Retailing, Small Shops, Sugar Tax, Uncategorized, University of Stirling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Towns Conference 2019

One of the now established features of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Scotland’s Towns Week is the Annual Conference.  For many years it has been located in the Central Belt, but for 2019 it relocated to Aberdeen.  There are many good … Continue reading

Posted in Aberdeen, Amsterdam, BIDS, Bids Scotland, Consumer Change, Cork, Creative Places, Development Trusts, Healthy Ageing, High Streets, Local Authorities, Localisation, Place Standard, Places, Policy, Public Realm, Retail Change, Retail Policy, Retailers, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Small Towns, Streetscapes, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centre Living, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized, Urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shops: More or Less (and #IndieHour)

This blog has a number of recurring themes – or nightmares.  Most of them are focused around the themes of the mis-use of data, the lack of reaction about the structural change underway across retailing and the unwillingness of many … Continue reading

Posted in #IndieHour, Collaboration, Consumers, High Streets, Independents, Internet shopping, Landlords, Online Retailing, Reinvention, Relationships, Rents, Retail Change, Retailers, Small Shops, Start-ups, Towns, Uncategorized, University of Stirling, Vibrancy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hull and Beyond

  I’ve never knowingly been to Hull.  It’s not that I’ve anything against Hull, just that the question of going there has never arisen.  I became a little more aware of it when it owned the accolade as UK City … Continue reading

Posted in Art, BHS, Buildings, Cooperative Group, Cooperatives, Department Stores, Design, Historic Shops, History, Hull, Places, Public Realm, Regeneration, Retail History, Spaces, Uncategorized, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Towns and Town Centres in Scotland: reflections six years on from Fraser

I was recently asked to do a 10 minute reflection on the state of towns and town centres in Scotland and the work that has derived from the Fraser Review (the National Review of Town Centres) and from Scotland’s Towns Partnership. … Continue reading

Posted in BIDS, Bids Scotland, Consumer Change, Consumer Lifestyle, Creative Places, Development Trusts, Government, High Streets, Internet shopping, Local Authorities, Mary Portas, Online Retailing, Place Standard, Places, Planning, Policy, Rates, Regeneration, Reinvention, Rents, Retail Change, Retail Policy, Retailers, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Tax, TCRF, Town Centre Action Plan, town centre first, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized, Understanding Scottish Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Going Self-Service – a 70 year old revolution?

A few weeks ago a journalist rang and asked about the introduction of self-service retailing into the UK.  A particular question was about the way in which retailers converting to self-service in the 1940s and 1950s knew what to do … Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Change, Customer Service, Express Dairies, Food Retailing, Historic Shops, History, Retail Change, Retail History, Retail innovation, Retailers, Retailing, Self-checkout, Self-Service, Small Shops, Tesco, Uncategorized, USA | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Multiplier and the Glue: Locally owned convenience stores and the local economy

Longer term readers of this blog will possibly recall a long standing interest in the impacts of small convenience stores on the local economy. This has taken the form of some discussion about what may be termed ‘the local multiplier’. … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Community, Consumers, Convenience stores, Customer Service, Independents, Local Multiplier, Local Retailers, Relationships, Retail Economy, Retailers, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Local Retailer, Uncategorized, University of Stirling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment