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 Internationalisation and Graduate Studies.

Shops opening and expanding, queues outside: the High Street picture that’s not making the national news

I recently had an exchange with Iain Nicholson around media coverage of the high street. it followed my recent diatribe about data. I have known Iain for a few years and admired the work he has been doing in towns … Continue reading

Posted in Car Parking, Consumers, Creative Places, Government, High Streets, Independents, Local Retailers, Localisation, Oxfordshire, Places, Planning, Policy, Producers, Record stores, Retail Diversity, Retail Economy, Retailers, Small Shops, Small Towns, Spaces, town centre first, Town Centres, Towns, Vacancies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Try Before You Buy: A ‘Returns Tsunami’?

The rise of the internet as a channel of purchase and distribution has been a major transformation for consumers and also for many retailers.  Whilst distance selling including mail order had been present for centuries, the internet offers a radically … Continue reading

Posted in Asos, Availability, Catalogues, Consumer Choice, Internet shopping, Loyalty, Membership, Returns, Supply Chains, Sustainable Development, Try before you buy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“No Town Immune”: Data and reporting

On Tuesday afternoon, I was contacted by a journalist (Stephen Naysmith) from The Herald about the upcoming Local Data Company/PwC report on high streets.  He sent me the (then) embargoed press release.  I attach it here for those interested and … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Closure, Data, Government, High Streets, Independents, Internet, Local Data Company, Online Retailing, Places, Retail Failure, Retailers, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Scottish Retailing, SNP, Town Centres, Towns, Understanding Scottish Places, Vacancies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tartan Cents: Linking the Scottish Global Diaspora

The Scottish Diaspora is extensive and has an active engagement with Scotland.  Having lived in the US and seen Highland Games and other Scottish links, this lineage and linkage is obviously tangible. It is also this weekend the 20th Anniversary … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Campaigns, Collaboration, Heritage, Places, Public Realm, Scotland, Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, Tartan Cents, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2000 and Counting

This just popped up in my Twitter timeline; a tweet from James Timpson, announcing that Timpson’s had just opened their 2000th store.  Now I am pretty sure that Twitter timelines reflect personality traits (hello, Cambridge Analytica, I’ll save you the … Continue reading

Posted in Competition, Consumer Change, CVA, High Streets, Leadership, Retail Change, Retail Failure, Retailers, Service Quality, Store Closures, Timpsons, Towns, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Talking Shops at The Engine Shed

On a number of occasions this blog has covered aspects of the past and in particular ghostsigns and historic shops and shopfronts.  Across Scotland (and beyond) there is an enduring fascination for, and concern with, our retail history. I was … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, BHS, Buildings, Falkirk, Ghost Signs, High Streets, Historic Shops, History, Retail History, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Shopfronts, Signage, Stirling, Streets, Streetscapes, Urban History, Woolworths | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1967 and All Things Retail

2017 was the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the University of Stirling. There were a number of celebrations and activities, as well as periods of reflection. One of the events on campus was an exhibition about 1967. This involved … Continue reading

Posted in 1967, ATMs, Cashpoints, Consumers, Cooperative Group, Cooperatives, Corporate History, Cumbernauld, Fish, History, New Towns, Pricing, Retail History, Shopping Centres, University of Stirling, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment