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.

Scottish Retail Sales: Covid Impacts against the Long Term Data

The British/Scottish Retail Consortium has been producing its Scottish Retail Sales Monitor for a long time.  I have been charting the results since last century (!) and have commented on the monthly figures in this blog before, for example here … Continue reading

Posted in BRC, Covid19, Food Retailing, Lockdown, Non-food retailing, Pandemic, Retail Sales, Retailers, Sales, Scotland, Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish Retail Sales, Scottish Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Covid Variants, Retailing and this Christmas

A couple of weeks ago, I pondered putting together something again about the Christmas 2021 retail season.  Whilst there were strains over supply and labour availability, retailing seemed set for something much more normal. At about the same time, the … Continue reading

Posted in Boxing Day, Brexit, Christmas, Cities, Consumers, Covid19, Government, Inflation, Internet shopping, Online Retailing, Opening Hours, Pandemic, Retailers, Supply Chains, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Queen Bees : Q-commerce, the on-demand world and the changing meaning of online retailing

Online retailing is now close to 30 years old.  It has seen an almost relentless growth over much of this period, accelerated by events such as Black Friday and Christmas, and more recently super-charged by the pandemic and lockdown.  The … Continue reading

Posted in Amazon, Availability, Black Friday, Community, Consumer Lifestyle, Consumers, Convenience stores, Customer Service, Dark Stores, Employment practices, Food Retailing, Home, Home Delivery, Internet, Internet shopping, Just in Time, Office for National Statistics, On demand retailing, Online Retailing, Q-commerce, Retailers, Retailing, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Bids Scotland, Community, Covid19, Gift Card, Localisation, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Pandemic, Place Based Investment Programme, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: change of editor

As many will know, I have been involved in editing journals for a very long time.  In particular I have been associated with the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research since its inception.  For the last few years … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Editorship, Education, IRRDCR, Research, Retail Research, University of Stirling | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oxford Street, Hull and Beyond

I have never really understood the fascination with Oxford Street as the retail heart of the UK.  I get that there are some great buildings, but as a shopping street, though not a great streetscape, it has never worked for … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Campaigns, Cooperative Group, Cooperatives, Department Stores, Historic Shops, History, Hull, Marks and Spencer, Oxford Street, Places, Regeneration, Retail History, Streetscapes, Town Centres, Towns, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should every encouragement have an equal and opposite discouragement?

This is the third in a loosely linked series of posts arising in part from the publication of the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and the New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres The first post was my discussion of … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Car Parking, Climate Emergency, community wealth building, Consumer Change, Government, High Streets, Housing, Internet shopping, New Future for Scotland's Towns, NPF4, Place Based Investment Programme, Places, Planning, Policy, Politicians, Public Policy, Rates, Regulation, Retail Change, Retail Impact Assessments, Retail Planning, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Tax, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, town centre first, Town Centre Living, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Retail Impact Assessments: Time for a Rethink?

This is the second in a linked series of posts.  The next one reflects on existing out-of-town developments and what we need to do about them.  The first was on the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4).  In that post … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, community wealth building, Consumer Change, Convenience, Convenience stores, Home Delivery, Internet shopping, Land Use Planning, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Pandemic, Places, Planning, Public Policy, Retail Change, Retail Impact Assessments, Retail Planning, Retail Policy, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Planner, Scottish Retailing, Sequential Approach, Spatial Planning, Town & Country PLanning, town centre first, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

National Planning Framework 4 – the consultation

This is the first of three loosely linked posts arising from the draft National Planning Framework 4. This one is on the draft itself; the second is on Retail Impact Assessments; and the third is on implications for existing developments. … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Climate Emergency, community wealth building, Government, Land Use Planning, Local Authorities, New Future for Scotland's Towns, Places, Planning, Policy, Public Policy, Retail Impact Assessments, Retailing, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Scottish Planner, Scottish Retailing, Sequential Approach, Spatial Planning, Town & Country PLanning, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, town centre first, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments