Journal Articles 2012

This page contains details of some of the recent journal article publications by members of the Institute for Retail Studies. Pre-print versions of these articles are available online from the University of Stirling’s Depository (STORRE) in most cases, or contact the author or Leigh Sparks directly.

John Dawson (2012) “Retailer activity in shaping food choice”, Food Quality and Preference, In Press, Accepted Manuscript available at

Retailers claim that they provide the products that consumers want but there is a much more complex dynamic process underpinning this relationship than the idea of consumer sovereignty. The paper explores this retailer-consumer relationship by considering how a variety of retailer activities influence consumers’ food preferences and choices and how innovation from the retail sector changes this relationship. The pattern of mutual influence of retailer and consumer is extremely dynamic being driven by competitive innovation by the retailer rather than only consumer sovereignty.  Examples are used to illustrate this pattern of influence on consumer choice and its dynamic nature. Whilst successful retailers undoubtedly respond to consumer demand they also are a major influence in shaping food choice and preferences – an influence that is likely to become more powerful over the next decade.

Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2012) “Parting company?”, Town and Country Planning, Vol. 81 Iss: 10, pp 417-418

Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks have taken over the Trading Places column in Town and Country Planning from the recently retired Cliff Guy, who expertly guided the column for almost 13 years. In this inaugural column they look at how devolution is changing the landscape of retail planning in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. (See Trading Places section of this blog)

Jonathan Elms and Julie Tinson (2012) “Consumer vulnerability and the transformative potential of Internet shopping: An exploratory case study”, Journal of Marketing Management, IFirst Available at

Ten million individuals in the UK who suffer from long-term illness, impairments, or disability can be considered as vulnerable consumers (Office for Disability Issues, 2010). Despite this, there are few studies on the use of the Internet for grocery shopping by the disabled and none which offers an understanding of the multiple facets of consumer vulnerability. This study contextualises the use of the Internet for grocery shopping using an exploratory case to provide fresh insights into the ‘actual’ vulnerability of ‘Danni’ – a disabled housewife and mother. Whilst the use of the Internet reduces the impracticalities of shopping in-store, the normalcy afforded to Danni through shopping in-store (including her sense of self) was not met by the technological offerings. The paradoxes associated with using online provision and the strategies adopted to manage these by Danni demonstrate engagement/disengagement and assimilation/isolation. Policy implications and insights for retailers are provided.

Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2012) “Far from the ‘Magic of the Mall’: Retail (Change) in ‘Other Places’”, Scottish Geographical Journal, Vol. 128 Iss: 1, pp.24-41. Available  at

A pre-occupation with the ‘new’ and a focus on corporate retailers and spaces has
led to a lack of consideration of change and issues in secondary or ‘other places’ of retail. Using a longitudinal survey methodology, data on retail stock, churn, vacancy and use are considered for one such ‘other place’ – Shettleston in Glasgow. The data show complex dimensions and aspects of vulnerability and resilience, compounded by reactions to exogenous retail and other economic and social changes. Far from being ‘seedy, pre-historical backwaters’, Shettleston and similar ‘other’ places can be vital, local centres playing a variety of useful roles. They require support and attention every bit as much as more high profile town centres and high streets.

Keri Davies (2012) “The composition of Singaporean shopping centres”, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Vol. 22 Iss: 3, pp 261-275

With its growing population but limited supply of land, Singapore has seen a huge increase in the number and size of shopping centres in recent years. This growth has led to two rather contradictory outcomes – more choice for retailers in their efforts to reach customers but also claims that too many of the centres contain the same types of retailers and contain no real differentiation in their offerings. This paper looks at this trend and reports on a survey of the composition of store types in a wide range of Singaporean shopping centres to consider whether or not these views are based on a full picture of the roles played by these shopping centres. Available online at

Eric Calderwood and Keri Davies (2012) “The trading profiles of community retail enterprises”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 Iss: 8, pp.592 – 606

This paper reports on the results of a postal questionnaire survey of 197 community retail enterprises. The information gathered from this survey was supplemented by visits to 21 of the shops run by these enterprises and short interviews with some of the shop staff. The community retail enterprise sector is growing very quickly, with a significant number of new shops opening every year in the UK. It is a very diverse sector that provides a wide range of goods and services, reflecting the desire to meet the needs of members and local residents. It is heavily dependent on the involvement of the local community, particularly as volunteers, but this can lead to other tensions around the role of the shop and the enterprise in general.

Christoph Teller and Jonathan Elms (2012) “Urban place marketing and retail agglomeration customers”, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol 28 Iss: 5-6, pp 546-567 (Available in STORRE at

Through identifying the attributes of a place that have an influence on the patronage behaviour of urban retail customers, this paper presents a conceptual model that proposes direct and indirect antecedents regarding the different retail-related dimensions associated with urban place attractiveness. An empirical study was conducted whereby the model was tested by surveying approximately five hundred actual consumers at the time they visited a particular town centre for the purposes of shopping. The results showed that the retail tenant mix, the merchandise value and the atmosphere had a direct impact and the product range and the sales personnel an indirect impact upon the evaluation of attractiveness. Furthermore, a number of additional effects towards these antecedents were identified with respect to parking conditions, the non retail tenant mix, manoeuvrability and orientation. This revealed that retailing activities were a major driver of attractiveness for an urban place. The practical implication of these findings suggests that place marketing activities should be proactive in supporting and enabling retailers in fulfilling their roles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s