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.

Conversation Piece: High-street strategy: recovery will take more than street parties and more bins

On the 15th July, the UK Government published its new high street strategy for England “Build Back Better: High Streets”. I was asked by The Conversation to prepare a peice about the strategy, its links to Covid recovery and its … Continue reading

Posted in community wealth building, Festivals, Government, High Streets, Independents, Local Retailers, Mary Portas, Permitted Development Rights, Places, Planning, Policy, Public Policy, Public Realm, Regeneration, Regulation, Retailers, Retailing, Streetscapes, Town Centres | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Large Retail Stores be Open or Closed on New Year’s Day (Ne’erday) in Scotland ?

Invitation to Respond to Consultation (closing date 24th August 2021) A Scottish Government consultation seeking the views of business, retailers and shop workers on New Year’s Day trading has been published. Running for 10 weeks until 24 August, the consultation … Continue reading

Posted in Christmas, Competition, Consumers, Employees, Employment, Internet shopping, New Years Day, Online Retailing, Opening Hours, Petitions, Regulation, Retailers, Retailing, Scotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish Retailing, Sunday Trading, USDAW | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grocery Market Shares in Great Britain 1997-2021

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I have, since 1997, been using Kantar data to look at the changing grocery market shares in Great Britain.  Taking July data each year this series now extends almost a quarter … Continue reading

Posted in Aldi, Asda, Competition, Consumers, Convenience, Cooperatives, Discounters, Food Retailing, Grocery, Independents, Internet shopping, Kantar, Lidl, Local Retailers, Longitudinal Data, Market Shares, Ocado, Retail Change, Retailers, Sainsbury, Tesco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Shops: Brian Lomas

I have just been alerted (thanks to @LeighVBird) to a book recently published by the modernist on the topic of Small Shops. It consists of 45 black and white photographs of small shops from North Manchester, taken in the early … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Community, Consumer Change, Food Retailing, Historic Shops, History, Independents, Local Retailers, Manchester, Neighbourhood, Retail Change, Retailing, Small Shops, Social Change, Urban, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland Loves Local: The Next Phase

As part of the response to the pandemic and the focus that has been turned onto neighbourhoods, localities and local businesses, the Scotland Loves Local campaign was launched in late July 2020. It proved to “hit the spot” with many … Continue reading

Posted in Community, community wealth building, Consumers, Gift Card, Government, Independents, Local Authorities, Local Currency, Local Multiplier, Local Retailers, Neighbourhood, Perth, Places, Retailers, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Shopping, Small Shops, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St James Quarter – curating and change

Last week saw the opening of parts of the St James Quarter in Edinburgh.  Conceived a long time ago, and without any conception of the possibilities and impact of a global pandemic, the centre is in some ways of a … Continue reading

Posted in Aberdeen, BIDS, City Centres, Edinburgh, John Lewis Partnership, Pandemic, Retailers, Scotland, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scottish Retailing, Shopping Centres, St James Quarter, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Towns, High Streets and Resilience: A Question for Policy?

“It is all too easy to talk about “bouncing back to where we were” without asking which “we” is counted and without asking whether “where we were” is a place to which a return is desirable”. (Vale, 2014, p198) Some … Continue reading

Posted in 20 Minute Neighbourhood, Academics, CLES, Community, community wealth building, Covid19, Government, High Streets, Pandemic, Public Policy, Resilience, Retail Change, Retail Policy, Retailers, Retailing, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Government, Scottish Retailing, Social Renewal, Sustainability, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scotland’s Towns Partnership: A (Covid) Year in Review

Towards the end of each May, thoughts at Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) often turn reflective. As we head towards our Annual Towns Tea Party and our AGM (2nd June), we look back on the year. This year has of course … Continue reading

Posted in Bids Scotland, Covid19, High Streets, Local Authorities, Pandemic, Place Standard, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Scottish Government, Town Centre Action Plan, Town Centre Review, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized, Understanding Scottish Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Independent Retailing During and After the Pandemic: Tell your Stories

In my last post one of the statements that garnered quite a lot of attention was “As an example, I am hearing of (and locally seeing) quite a lot of local independent businesses opening up, and a better realism of … Continue reading

Posted in #IndieHour, Bill Grimsey, Collaboration, Community, Convenience, Entrepreneurship, Government, Independents, Local Retailers, Online Retailing, Pandemic, Retailers, Retailing, Scotland, Scotland Loves Local, Scotland's Improvement Districts, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Uncategorized, Wholesaling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Soaring Vacancies” : perhaps or perhaps not?

The end of last week saw headlines about the number of vacant shops in Scotland. Typical Scottish newspaper examples included: The Herald The Scotsman So, something of a downer to end the first week out of lockdown in Scotland and … Continue reading

Posted in BRC, Consumers, Covid19, Data, Independents, Local Data Company, Lockdown, Online Retailing, Pandemic, Places, Rates, Rents, Retail Change, Retailers, Scotland, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish Retailing, Shop Numbers, Shopping, Town Centres, Towns, Uncategorized, Vacancies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment