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.

Orkney – the Second Leg

Our recent visit to Orkney was not meant to be about retailing or shops, but inevitably just wandering around Stromness and Kirkwall one can’t help but look at the retailing.  As I noted in the earlier blog, the overwhelming sense … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art Deco, Environmental Quality, Ghost Signs, High Streets, Historic Shops, History, Orkney, Places, Planning, Post Offices, Regeneration, Retail History, Scotland's Town and High Streets, Shopfronts, Signage, Small Towns, Streets, Streetscapes, Stromness, Towns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tiles and Sardines

For those who catch up with me on Twitter, a few weeks ago we had a long weekend in Lisbon – no, not for Eurovision – and I said I would do a post on retail things of interest we … Continue reading

Posted in 3D Printing, Architecture, Azulejo, Cooperatives, Fish, Food Retailing, Historic Shops, History, Lisbon, Markets, Producers, Retail History, Sardines, Shopfronts, Streetscapes, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HoF: House of Fools?

Thursday’s much trailed announcement that House of Fraser was aiming to close 31 of its 59 stores in the UK and was seeking large rent reductions on those that remain, all as part of a seemingly contested CVA, was the … Continue reading

Posted in BHS, Buildings, Cardiff, Consumer Change, Costs, CVA, Department Stores, Edinburgh, High Streets, Historic Shops, Internet shopping, Jenners, John Lewis Partnership, Online Retailing, Oxford Street, Places, Retail Change, Retail Failure, Town & Country PLanning, Town Centres, Urban History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orc-(k)nee

There has been a lot of doom and gloom around in the last few weeks about the state of retail and high streets across the country.  There is clearly a new changed set of circumstances around consumer behaviours and the … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Cooperative Group, Creative Places, Environmental Quality, Food Tourism, Heritage, High Streets, Independents, Lidl, Orkney, Personal, Places, Pound Shops, Poundland, Public Realm, Retail History, Scotland's Islands, Seafood, Small Shops, Small Towns, Stirling, Tourism, Town Centres, Towns, Understanding Scottish Places, Urban History | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

“We’re in the Money”

A couple of weeks have gone by since the notion of a merger of Asda and Sainsbury began to be debated in the media.  During that time I wondered whether to add to the coverage via this blog or to … Continue reading

Posted in Asda, Booker, CMA, Competition and Markets Authority, Consumers, Food Retailing, Government, Mergers, Policy, Retail Change, Retailers, Retailing, Sainsbury, Store Closures, Suppliers, Tesco, Wal-Mart | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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