Media Commentary 2017

This page provides a listing of, and links to, some of the media commentary produced by members of the Institute for Retail Studies on various retail related topics.

December 2017

Cloud of Brexit-related gloom won’t lift for retail in 2018 – article by Leigh Sparks, Insider, 26th December

Scots set to spend bug on Boxing Day as online sales top £1bn – comment by Leigh Sparks, Scotsman, 26th December

Half of consumers duped by fake goods – comment by Leigh Sparks, Scotsman, 21st December

Christmas and Google – interview with Leigh Sparks on the Kaye Adams programme,  BBC Radio Scotland, 20th December

Barbers Shops, BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, 15th December, Leigh Sparks discusses barbers shops

Bank on a fresh start – Leigh Sparks discusses bank closures and Linlithgow, Linlithgow Gazette, 15th December

How getting a haircut can save rundown town centres – comments by Leigh Sparks, Herald, 13th December

What does the future hold for the hard-pressed retailer? Column by Leigh Sparks in Craft Business 1st December

November 2017

Off licences on the decline, commentary on new report by Local Data Company and University of Stirling (Leigh Sparks and Lorraine Ferguson), Talking Retail, 28th November (Also in Retail Jeweller).

Booze, gambling and payday lenders off the the high street as convenience stores rule – commentary on new report by Local Data Company and University of Stirling (Leigh Sparks and Lorraine Ferguson), Scotsman, 28th November

Call made for the abolition of business rates – Comments by Leigh Sparks, Craft Business, 21st November.

High demand for FlyGlobespan artifacts – comment by Leigh Sparks, Scotland on Sunday, 19th November

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol – Interview with Leigh Sparks on effects on retailers, BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, 16th November.

Whole Foods market to close only Scottish store in Giffnock – comment by Leigh Sparks on the announcement of Amazon owned WFM closure, Scotsman, 7th November

Black Friday, Black Saturday, Black Sunday as deals last for ten days – comments form Leigh Sparks on the never ending margin dilution story of Black Friday, Scotsman, 7th November

October 2017

Fighting the war on sugar head on – report of Cross Party Group discussion on Leigh Sparks and Steve Burt’s report for Food Standards Scotland and Leigh Sparks presentation to the CPG, Scottish Grocer, 31st October. (see my review of CPG here)

Perth Retail seminar – note on presentation at Perth by Leigh Sparks, Dundee Evening Telegraph, 31st October

Research reveals real costs of employment for convenience stores – some analysis of employment costs by Leigh Sparks and Maria  Rybaczewska, Talking Retail (Web), Scottish Local Retailer and Asian Trader, 31st October

Junk food deals to be outlawed – comments by Leigh Sparks on Obesity and Cancer Awareness Week and University of Stirling report for FSS on retailing, diet and health, Daily Mail, 11th October

September 2017

Towns need space to nurture and flourish – column by Leigh Sparks, Vision Scotland, Scotsman, 28th September

What’s next for Scotland’s town centres – includes reference to work by Leigh Sparks and Local Data Company, Scotsman, 28th September

Why Argos’s actions in Scotland could mean the end of bulky shopping catalogues – comments by Leigh Sparks, Herald, 7th Sept

August 2017

Why Amazon is in its Prime – comment column by Leigh Sparks, Sunday Post, 6th August (pdf here).

July 2017

Town centre investment – interview with Leigh Sparks on Cumbrian town centre investments, BBC radio Cumbria, 24th July

Challenge and hope with the changing face of retail areas – column by Leigh Sparks, Sunday Herald 23rd July, Supplement

Sector wars: can mid-market retailers survive without change? Retail Gazette, 7th July, Comments by Leigh Sparks on recession, fashion and luxury/value.

FSS puts retailers in regulation spotlight – continuing coverage of our FSS Report, Scottish Grocer, 3 July.

June 2017

Retail market share figures – discussion by Leigh Sparks, BBC Radio Scotland, 27th June

Avocados to be marked by laser to reduce labelling – comments by Leigh Sparks, Scotsman, 20th June

Retail revolution needed to tackle obesity – coverage of our report for FSS on Retailing ans the Scottish Diet. STV News ; BBC NewsThe Herald; Food Navigator ; The Courier; Press and Journal; Hospitality and Catering News; Institute of Food Science and Technology; Central FM; Kingdom FM; Health Medicine Network; Holyrood Magazine; Food Manufacture; Medical XPress; Food & Drink Technology, Aberdeen Evening Express and widespread coverage in local media outlets. 16-20th June.

May 2017

Scots products rampant whatever the wrapper says – comment by Leigh Sparks on demand for Scottish products in UK, Scotland on Sunday, 21st May (pdf here)

Let’s be clear: water should be free – comments by Leigh Sparks on charging for water in restaurants, Scotsman, 13th May

Morrisons and WH Smith are UK’s least loved stores – comments by Leigh Sparks on recent Which survey results, Scotsman, 13th May

The (unpopular) rise of self checkouts and how to fix them – BBC Future report, including comments by Leigh Sparks, 10th May. See

Insight: Gourmet meals on bicycle wheels – comments on the home delivery of food by Leigh Sparks, Scotland on Sunday, 7th May (PDF – Scotland on Sunday – On your bike)

How do we save Sauchiehall Street? – comments by Leigh Sparks, Herald, 6th May. (PDF The Herald Magazine – How do we solve a problem like Sauchiehall Street)

April 2017

Why we are back in love with Morrisons – comments by Leigh Sparks, The Sunday Post, 9th April

Retail shops closure and town centres  – interview with Leigh Sparks on STV Scotland News, 7th April

Quarter of shops could close, retail bosses warn – comment by Leigh Sparks, The Times (Scotland), 7th April

March 2017

Sir Shifty’s just playing games with us – comments by Leigh Sparks on the continuing fall out from collapse of BHS and pension issues, Sunday Mail, 5th March

February 2017

You favourite supermarket explored – discussion by Leigh Sparks on BBC Scotland Good Morning Scotland, 16th February

January 2017

Own-brands will compete for culinary ‘Oscars’ – comments by Leigh Sparks on retail own brands in food, The Times (Scotland), 30th January