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.

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

Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS) and Online Shopping

We are all getting older, even if many of us are feeling younger than our chronological age.  The ageing of the population is a recurrent theme cutting across topics and activities.  But, in all of the discussion, there is a … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Consumers, Digital, HAGIS, Healthy Ageing, Institute for Retail Studies, Internet, Internet shopping, Older consumers, Online Retailing, Retail Change, Retailing, Technology, University of Stirling | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Argos catalogues – a fascinating historical archive”

Rather to my surprise, in the eight or so years this blog has been in existence I seem not to have mentioned my collection of Argos catalogues, except tangentially.  Built up and in-filled after an initial donation some 20 years … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Argos, Brands, Catalogues, Consumer Change, Corporate History, Design, History, Milton Keynes, Pricing, Products, Research, Retail brands, Retail Change, Retail History, Retailers, Social Change | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Future of Work in Retailing? Just Walk Out

There has been quite a lot of attention in the last few days on the Amazon Go unit in Seattle being opened to the public.  Much has focused on whether this is the end of retail work and how fast … Continue reading

Posted in Amazon Go, Asda, Automation, BRC, Consumers, Contactless, Convenience stores, Employees, Employment, Food Retailing, Hypermarkets, management, Retail Change, Retailers, Sainsbury, Self-Scanning, Tesco, Urban, WH Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

High Streets for Consumers or High Streets for Citizens?

A little while ago I came across a new article by Julian Dobson entitled “from me towns to we towns”. I invited Julian to summarise this for this blog,  but he thought some up to date context would work better … Continue reading

Posted in "We" towns, Bristol Pound, Citizens, Community, Consumers, Creative Places, Incredible Edible, Local Retailers, Places, Planning, Public Realm, Retail Change, Social Justice, Spaces, Stokes Croft, Totnes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment