Oxford’s retail location analysis programme will provide insights into the future of retail

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

  • Where are retailers looking to open new outlets? And where do they want to close them? What will be the impact on communities and traditional town centres?
  • How are national retailers affected by international and cross-border retailers such as Amazon?
  • How are new delivery methods such as click and collect changing the way we shop?
  • What are the impacts of these changes on the supply chain and retail employment patterns?
  • How will retailers in the future balance their online and bricks-and-mortar outlets?
  • How will independent retailers compete against the national and international giants?

Answers to these questions and further deep insights into the future of retail will emerge during the 28th Retail Location Analysis programme run by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, on 28–30 April 2014.

The retail sector is a significant contributor to economies and societies worldwide. Within Europe alone, retailing generates a turnover of EUR2.6 trillion and provides 18.6 million jobs. The growth in internet shopping and other technological developments, and the continuing increase in the length and flexibility of the typical working day are contributing to major changes in how, when, and where customers do their shopping. These affect where retailers locate their premises, with corresponding impacts on the supply chain, employment patterns, and planning issues.

The Retail Location Analysis programme will bring together 25 managers with responsibility for making these influential location decisions for an intensive exploration of the latest research and analytical models with academics from the University of Oxford and retail location consultants CACI. These discussions, and the decisions associated with them, are at the heart of changes in this important sector, and will be of great interest to retailers, planners, and policymakers.

“Retailers are continuing to face a range of difficulties, from low consumer confidence to the challenges of operating in a multi-channel environment, which all have an impact on space and how it is used,” said Dr Jonathan Reynolds, Academic Director of the Institute of Retail Management and Director of the Retail Location Analysis programme. “It is not just a matter of where to open and close retail outlets but is about multi-channel decisions – how to mix and match traditional stores with online services, and how to approach resulting supply chain issues. The developments we are anticipating in the sector will change the physical face of retailing, and affect the number and types of jobs available, forever.”

The Retail Location Analysis programme draws on the most recent academic research and practitioner experiences to provide a deep understanding of the changing context within which locational decision-making is conducted. Participants are introduced to a range of techniques employed by location analysts, including analogue methods, multivariate analysis and gravity modelling. They also discuss a range of case studies presented by expert practitioners.

The programme draws on the cutting-edge research being conducted at the Saïd Business School in the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, and also on the networks and influence of the members of the Institute. Dr Reynolds, for example, has recently chaired the European Commission’s Expert Group on Retail Sector innovation

“The significant growth of online retailing in the UK, combined with the emphasis on retail skills and professional development in this country over the last 10 years, mean that we have easy access to tremendous expertise and examples of best practice that are relevant internationally,” said Dr Reynolds. “If you add to these the world-leading research being conducted by our faculty, the Retail Location Analysis programme at Saïd Business School is the natural focus for cutting-edge thinking in this area.”

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