Journal Articles 2017

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.

Ian Davison Porter, Diarmaid Lawlor, Neil McInroy, Cathy Parker, Phil Prentice, Leigh Sparks and Gary Warnaby(2017) The World Towns Framework: a call to action”, Journal of Place Management and Development,

The purpose of this article is to present the background to the development of the World Towns’ Framework, developed in June 2016 at the inaugural World Towns Leadership Summit in Scotland. The paper also provides an academic underpinning to the four pillars of the agreement; a unique sense of identity and place, economy, leadership and citizenship and environment. The article ends with a call to action for practitioners, policymakers and organisations providing support to people in places who want to contribute to the development of the Framework and adopt it. The paper contains three main contributions 1. It articulates a new narrative for towns, neighbourhoods and city districts in responding to contemporary urban challenges; 2. It shapes a new urban agenda for these urban places; and 3. It asserts the need for new alliances and approaches essential for a strong competitive economy, which is more inclusive of towns and smaller places, combined with a fairer, more equal society.

Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2017) Opportunity Knocks – reconfiguring retail spaces and the reinvention of the retail park, Town and Country Planning, Vol. 86 Iss: 11, pp 450-452
Retail spaces are always changing, though with the recession and the decline in speculative applications for out of town developments, this may not be as obvious as it once was. Changes threaten town centers, but they are occurring almost independently of the town center first policy, going almost unnoticed. The case of the retail park has highlighted how planning has been contested but with little media/research attention. Many of the changes taking place do not figure in planning consciousnesses, but the raise significant questions for planners. This column covers some of these issues.
Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2017) Opportunity Knocks – reconfiguring retail spaces and the reinvention of the retail park, Town and Country Planning, Vol. 86 Iss: 7-8, pp 278-281
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) ar  now almost 15 years old in the UK and have been expanding in number and reach, especially in London. Whilst BIDs may be unrelated to planning, the ideas of town centre management, public-private partnerships, town teams and generally better management of places has been a common theme of recent years. But isn’t this the function of local authorities and panning? So what does the rise of BIDs say about planning and the relationship between BIDs and planning?
Kolyperas D and L Sparks (2018) Exploring value co-creation in fan fests : the role of fans. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 26, 1, pp 71-84, Published online 3rd November 2017, Available at DOI:
Fan Fests have recently provided various opportunities for host cities, organizers, sponsors and fans, manifesting a modern intersected third place service setting (other than a stadium) where varied stakeholders can co-create value and sport experience and consumption can take different forms and shapes. Yet, although Fan Fests are becoming integral parts of mega-events, research has fallen short of capturing the unique nature of such value co-creation ecosystem, and the role of fans in such value co-creation environment. This paper takes up this challenge and explores the still evolving nature of the Fan Fest, using a primarily consumer and participant focused approach in order to explore the experiences of a Fan Fest and address questions of event construction, participation, organization and consumption. Drawing on SDL and Consumer Culture Theory perspectives we situate the role of fans in value co-creation in Fan Fests and provide implications for management and future research.
From the editorial of the issue of the journal:
“Value creation, or better co-creation, is also examined in the second article of this issue by Dimitrios Kolyperas and Leigh Sparks. The two authors do not focus on stadia, but on ‘Fan Fests’, the festivals created for fans during, around and in relation to major sport events, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. These events around the main event are organised and managed by the main organiser of the event and are very popular among fans, with FIFA for example reporting that more than five million people visited the 12 locations in each 2014 FIFA World Cup host city. Fan fest, this popular event augmentation tool is examined in detail in Kolyperas and Sparks’ study as a value co-creation ecosystem, with all its social, cultural, humanitarian and economic dimensions, and associated benefits being discussed. Attention is focused on the role of the fan in this process of value creation, since, as their study suggests, Fan Fests might be corporately organised but they are in fact consumer generated and activated.”
Stead M, MacKintosh, AM, Findlay A, Sparks L, Anderson AS, Barton K and Eadie D (2017) Impact of a targeted direct marketing price promotion intervention (Buywell) on food-purchasing behaviour by low income consumers: a randomised controlled trial,  Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 30 (4):524-533; 10.1111/jhn.12441 August 2017

Price promotions are a promising intervention for encouraging healthier food purchasing. We aimed to assess the impact of a targeted direct marketing price promotion combined with healthy eating advice and recipe suggestions on the purchase of selected healthier foods by low income consumers. We conducted a randomised controlled trial (n = 53 367) of a direct marketing price promotion (Buywell) combined with healthy eating advice and recipe suggestions for low income consumers identified as less healthy’ shoppers. Impact was assessed using electronic point of sale data for UK low income shoppers before, during and after the promotion. The proportion of customers buying promoted products in the intervention month increased by between 1.4% and 2.8% for four of the five products. There was significantly higher uptake in the promotion month (P < 0.001) for the intervention group than would have been expected on the basis of average uptake in the other months. When product switching was examined for semi-skimmed/skimmed milk, a modest increase (1%) was found in the intervention month of customers switching from full-fat to low-fat milk. This represented 8% of customers who previously bought only full-fat milk. The effects were generally not sustained after the promotion period. Short-term direct marketing price promotions combined with healthy eating advice and recipe suggestions targeted at low income consumers are feasible and can have a modest impact on short-term food-purchasing behaviour, although further approaches are needed to help sustain these changes.

Retailers are amongst the world’s strongest brands, but little is known about retailer brand equity. In spite of their extensive use, we argue that current operational models are too abstract for understanding the uniqueness of the retail industry and too simplistic to understand the interrelationships among the dimensions in the retailer brand equity building process. This study contributes to the existing and largely generic retailer equity frameworks in three ways: first, by incorporating retail specific dimensions from the retailer image literature; second, by re-examining and developing the structures and relationships between the dimensions of retailer equity by testing alternative structures commonly used in the more general brand equity literature; and finally by creating a short and parsimonious scale for assessing retailer brandequity in different contexts. The extended, although parsimonious, 17-item retailer equity scale can be used by academics as well as practitioners to examine the underlying values of retailer brands and has the potential to incorporate additional dimensions and attributes to investigate specific retail contexts without creating lengthy questionnaires.
Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2017) “Houston, we have a problem”, Town and Country Planning, Vol. 86 Iss: 4, pp 129-132

Business rates are an anachronistic abomination, hated by many, ineffective in their operation, but with the unfortunate effect of providing a steady and regular source of income for the government. In a digital world, this 16th century tax is simply not fit for purpose, destroying jobs and places whilst privileging some operations and business models. Retailers have borne the brunt of the steep hikes over the last 7 years, and the delayed revaluation simply made the situation worse. This column sets out the issues and some thoughts of the lines of change (See Trading Places section of this blog)

Juan Carlos Londono, Keri Davies and Jonathan Elms (2017) Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior to examine the role of anticipated negative emotions on channel intention: The case of an embarrassing product. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol 36, pp 8-20

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is successful in predicting consumer intentions for a wide variety of products and behaviors. However, little is known about how effective the TPB is when the behavior under study is embarrassing. To this end, this paper extends the TPB to create a conceptual model to examine the role of anticipated negative emotions on channel intention. An empirical study was conducted whereby the model was tested using survey data on the purchase of Regaine (a hair loss product that is embarrassing to buy) in Boots (a well-known UK multichannel drugstore). The embarrassing nature of Regaine created differences in the importance that emotions played when consumers intend to purchase using face-to-face channels (such as the physical drugstore) as against multichannel options or the internet. The results were analyzed using partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). The effectiveness of the TPB was improved. The variance explained (R2 to intention) was 0.44% for the total sample, 49% for the drugstore, 58.4% for the internet, and 42.5% for multichannel.

Anne Findlay and Leigh Sparks (2017) Below the planning radar – the grocery shopper, Town and Country Planning, Vol. 86 Iss: 1, pp 4-6

Shopping patterns are changing and in evaluating proposals planners need to be thinking about new aspects of shopping patronage and the impact of different location strategies. These impacts will be different for the previous generation of different traffic flows and will affect places differently.We are seeing the reduction of store estates and the search for new formats and locations, so new switching and patr0nage patterns will emerge at the local and the aggregate levels. This, for the most part, is currently hidden from many planners. (See Trading Places section of this blog)