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Location analysis experts examine future of High Street

By Retail Technology | Friday April 25 2014

Event at Sad Business School, University of Oxford to provide insights into the future of retail including the impact of cross-border and online competition

An upcoming Oxford retail location analysis programme is due to explore the future of retail, in terms of where retailers are looking to both open and close new outlets, as well as the impact of international and cross-border retailers such as Amazon.

The 28th Retail Location Analysis programme run by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, on 28 to 30 April 2014 will also examine how new delivery methods such as 'click & collect' are changing the way we shop and what changes retailers will have to make to balance their online and bricks-and-mortar outlets. 

The retail sector is a significant contributor to economies and societies worldwide. Within Europe alone, retailing generates a turnover of €2.6 trillion (£2.1tr) 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.

Targeting retail planners and policymakers

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

“Retailers are continuing to face a range of difficulties, from low consumer confidence to the challenges of operating in a multichannel 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 multichannel 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.”

Analytical approach to decision making 

The Retail Location Analysis programme draws on the most recent academic research and practitioner experiences to provide an understanding of the changing context within which locational decision-making is conducted. Participants will be 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 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, 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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