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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)/Knowledge Exchange Opportunities (KEOs)



KTP with the Association of Convenience Stores

Principal Investigator: Dr Jonathan Reynolds

Host Institution: University of Oxford

Company/Organisation: ACS


It is popularly thought that small retail businesses play a vital role in safeguarding the viability and vitality of local communities. But little objective, authoritative evidence exists to support this view. It is also held anecdotally that embedded within the sector can be found countless examples of good practice. However, the suspicion is that many of these examples are poorly understood and rarely shared. This project brought together the Association of Convenience Stores (representing 33,500 small shops) and the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, based at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

This project was designed to conduct new research aimed at (i) assessing the role of local shops within communities (ii) assisting in policy debate and (iii) embedding best practice in community retailing, with accompanying broader social and economic benefits. In addition, such work was designed to allow the further development of a research and evidence-based culture within the Company Partner and the development of effective insights and analysis of the SME retail sector for the Knowledge Base team.

This partnership provided an opportunity for a trade association representing local shops to develop an authoritative evidence base of the contribution of local shops to the communities in which they operate and, cumulatively, to the nation as a whole. Such an evidence base is of direct use to the Association’s membership, but also an important pre-requisite for the association in developing its case with policy-makers at local, regional and national levels.

Main events and achievements for partners and associates included:

  • The developing findings from the project formed an integral part of the CP’s own commercial events (annual Summits), contributions to other external events (e.g. Heart of the Community) and its public relations and educational initiatives. The KBP as well as the Associate played a significant role in these events.
  • The development of an up-to-date evidence base of literature on the role of local shops in communities; the identification of clear practices ‘on the ground’ to illustrate the variability of social roles adopted by small shops in different locales; the opportunity to use findings from the project to raise awareness amongst ACS members and other stakeholders, particularly policymakers; the development of strong links between KBP and CP facilitating knowledge exchange outwith the specific scope of the project (and a working relationship which will persist after the project concludes. This will include advising on programme design and contributing content to a new event for ACS, bringing together leading academics and practitioners for a Summit on Innovation in the Convenience Sector International Leadership Summit.

More information on the project's achievements, together with reports produced and presentations made by the KTP team can be found at: http://www.acs.org.uk/en/research/knowledge-transfer-oxford-university/








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KEO with the Local Data Company: 'The State of UK Retail Places'

Principal Investigator: Dr Jonathan Reynolds

Host Institution: University of Oxford

Company/Organisation: Local Data Company


The co-existence of town centres and out-of-town is only one dimension of the complex and evolving structure of locations and channels to which consumers have access in developed retail markets. The broad objective of this project is to develop contemporary insight and explanations of the ways the geography of retailing, specifically retail places, is changing in the UK. Combining the data and expertise of the Local Data Company (www.localdatacompany.com) and the insights of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, led by Dr Jonathan Reynolds, will allow the production of the first of what could become a series of annual reports on this subject which we believe will be highly regarded and of significant value to investors, policy-makers, retailers and academics.

The project, which will commence in February 2013,  has four inter-related objectives:

1. To consider the character of retail places, classifying, clustering & ranking them in ways which, in the absence of contemporary data, has not previously proved possible.

2. To develop appropriate & objective measures of vulnerability & resilience of places as measured through the extent and nature of their retail provision.

3. To understand and explain the ways in which retail places have changed over the past year.

4. To consider what UK retail places might look like in five years time, given what we know about present trends and drivers, and in the context of the existing longitudinal data set.

The output of the project will be a summary "State of UK Retail Places" report. A subsidiary output will be the development of a data set which will have the potential to act as a Town 'Tool Kit' that will enable retail places to better understand how they are evolving against national trends.