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Posted by: on January 18, 2010

Hard times for bookshops

“A glamour hangs over the glittering booth, and a tantalizing air of clever new things”. Selfridges? Abercrombie & Fitch? No – Henry James describing a WHSmith railway bookstall in 1888. Today a good bookshop still provides a focal point for its community, a peaceful haven to while away spare hours, and a stimulating environment in […]

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Posted by: on January 14, 2010

Home delivery in the 21st century, Part 2

In 2009 we posted the first part of an assessment of grocery home delivery. Given the barnstorming results of the online grocery services of the major UK supermarket retailers over Christmas, we thought we should post the second part of the assessment: a blow-by-blow account of the service provided by each. For the record, Tesco […]

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Posted by: on December 6, 2009

Location, location, location… redux

So-called Location-Based Services applications have been around for some time and have often been described as ‘solutions in search of problems’. But early implementations were clunky and unreliable, GPS expensive and not widely available and consumer unused to or unwilling to pay significantly for such information. Contemporary applications show much greater promise. Two developments now […]

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Posted by: on October 17, 2009

From classroom to shop floor

A recent discussion in Retail Week about the interaction between business schools and the retail shop floor: contains interviews with Paul Freathy from Stirling, John Pal from MMU and from me about the issues raised. Read it here.

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Posted by: on September 6, 2009

This survey should take no more than 45 minutes to complete …

As a social science researcher myself, I always feel duty bound to undertake email surveys. This can be a tiresome duty. This is partly because, as a result, I am exposed to the all the vicissitudes of bad practice in design and administration, ludicrous questioning and all the obsessions of anxious clients that the industry […]

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Posted by: on August 22, 2009

New business formats

Always on the lookout for new retail formats, I was struck by these two candidates, found in Barcelona over the summer. “Tell it like it is” is clearly reaching new standards of honesty.

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Posted by: on July 20, 2009

Can online buck the trend?

Received wisdom would have us believe that if there is a type of retailing that is surviving if not thriving in the economic downturn, it is Internet-based retailing. In the UK, headlines have consistently suggested that savvy consumers have abandoned the High Street and taken to the Internet in their droves to take advantage of […]

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Posted by: on June 17, 2009

Home Delivery in the 21st Century. Part 1

From just after the Second World War until early in the 1980s, my Uncle Sam had a small grocery store in north east London. When he first opened the shop, after his ‘apprenticeship’ with Jack Cohen and his time as a desert rat, the area was largely Jewish and so he stocked jars of gefilte […]

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Posted by: on April 8, 2009

Retail education, research & practice

Retail is problematic as a field of study. Characterised as simply ‘selling stuff’, retail lacks the glamour of the high tech industries or the worthiness of public service. Retail is never considered blue-chip and is not usually a popular career choice among recent graduates. With very few retailers appearing in the ranks of popular employers  […]

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Posted by: on March 2, 2009

Chump or champ? (Or just clunk?)

I think I can finally delete the Harvard Business Review from my list of regular reading. I’ve always been rather depressed by its clunky resort to management metaphors. But the most recent issue descends into boxing and Mohammed Ali as metaphor during the present economic downturn. I have to draw the line. The FT’s Lucy […]

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