An interdisciplinary centre of excellence in retail research. With active researchers from a range of disciplines, including ethnology, engineering and logistics, marketing and management.
The Centre for Retail Research at Lund University is an interdisciplinary research center with a focus on the retail sector. The Centre is financially supported by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council. Inaugurated in March 2014, the center has more than 40 researchers affiliated to its projects and is regularly arranging seminars and workshops for both researchers and practitioners with particular interest in the retail sector.
The retail sector is one of Sweden’s largest employers and is an important part of the economy as a whole and people’s everyday life. A large portion of consumer income is spent in the retail sector. At the same time the international retail environment is ever changing and this poses new challenges for the retail sector, including its companies, employees and consumers.
As I write this, the Centre for Retail Research at Lund University has just entered the initial phase of its fourth fiscal year and looking back, the previous year has been full of activities leading to an expansion as well as enrichment of all dimensions of the Centre. In 2016, two new research programs were initiated: Retail Destination and Retail Innovation. In the first of the two, Retail Destination, the growth of city retail and how retail can be integrated into future urban growth is pivotal. The overarching importance of retail is essential from a general societal perspective as new types of urban growth are forming but also has special bearing for retail business located in and around cities. We believe that our mission here is to generate and contribute knowledge on how cities can grow and develop in ways that are attractive to future citizens. In the second program, Retail Innovation, studies will be done on different aspects of innovation capacity within the retail sector, based on market intelligence trends such as increasing e-commerce and heightened pressures of change on physical stores. The ability to progress and show creativeness is highly relevant and of great strategic importance to retailers with a desire to influence and form future conditions. This is also a partly new situation as retail innovation traditionally has been viewed as subordinate, whereas in times ahead it most likely will be considered a priority.
The uniqueness of the Centre’s activates is the prevailing coverage of all participating disciplines in all of its current, as well as concluded, research programs meaning that inter- disciplinary research and elucidation is enabled in all research that the Centre undertakes. Two illustrating examples are the research programs on E-commerce and Competent Consumers respectively that lasted 2014-2015.
We are especially proud of the capacity of our researchers to successfully combine an attraction to the retail business sector, evident from engagements such as seminar presenters, with an active role in producing high quality research in the area of retail. That roughly 10% of all accepted contributions (papers and presentations) at the Nordic Wholesale and Retail Conference (NWRC, November 2016) in Aarhus were authored by researchers at our Centre also highlights our high academic standard. In all in, we can rejoice in high relevancy in our research and important work efforts, judging by input from both academics and business practitioners.
New challenges are waiting in the next two years to come, despite the successful path we have followed so far, and further uncertainties will arise after 2018 as the funding from the Swedish Wholesale and Retail Council, which constitutes the backbone of financing of the Centre, will come to an end (stretching from 2014 to end of 2018). Intensive efforts are presently invested into finding future solutions for allowing the Centre for Retail Research to continue to constitute a Centre after 2018. We firmly believe --and interpret the positive response coming from both the retail business and colleague researchers – that the Centre fills a vital and relevant role in the present retail research landscape and look forward to future endeavours with both anticipation and confidence.
The director for Centre for Retail Research at Lund University is Ulf Johansson, Professor in Business Administration at Lund School of Economics and Management.
Overarching Mission Statement and Organizational Goals:
- Develop a sustainable platform for researchers and practitioners with a particular interest in retail research that will nationally strengthen and encourage retail research.
- Develop a interdisciplinary research environment of international excellence with a focus on retail
- Develop a stable platform for knowledge exchange between academia and practice
- Promote cooperation of planned and established retail research and retail education at Lund University