Professor Andrew Alexander
Andrew Alexander is Chair in Retail Management at the Surrey Business School.
Andrew is an experienced researcher and has published widely in business management and the social sciences. His most recent research is published in journals including Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, European Journal of Marketing, Business History and Environment and Planning A. He has received research project funding from organisations including the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, EPSRC (NEMODE+), the Nuffield Foundation, the British Academy of Management and the Academy of Marketing (UK), as well as from retailers.
As an enthusiastic educator Andrew is interested in the concepts and practice of teaching and learning. He has previously been the recipient of Faculty Enrichment Funds from the Canadian High Commission to develop a teaching programme on retailing in North America. Andrew has served as an External Examiner at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
His current research concerns:
- The management and marketing of urban centres, including shopping centres (with a particular interest in the place of the UK town centre in the changing retail environment)
- The long term development of retail systems and consumer society
- The internationalisation of retailing.
Andrew has provided academic leadership in a variety of roles at the University of Surrey including in programme management, admissions, and as Head of the Subject Group (now Department) of Marketing and Retail Management. He previously held academic positions at the University of Exeter and the Manchester Metropolitan University.
Andrew is currently undertaking research in three main areas:• The management and marketing of urban centres, including shopping centres (with a particular interest in the place of the UK town centre in the changing retail environment)• The long term development of retail systems and consumer society• The internationalisation of retailing
His recent projects include: "Bridging Communities: Retail Managers as Boundary Spanners in Town Centre Environments" (supported by the British Academy of Management, 2016-17).
Andrew is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journals Marketing Intelligence and Planning, the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, and the Journal of Place Management and Development.
Research Interests: • The management of urban centres, including shopping centres, including:
The role of store managers as boundary spanners.
Business engagement with town centre management initiatives including Business Improvement Districts.
• The long-term development of retail systems and consumer society, including:
The development of the supermarket format and consumers' reactions.
Structural and spatial trends in multiple retailing.
• The internationalisation of retailing, including:
Patterns of retail innovation and knowledge flows
International retail expansion of SMEs
Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised
I have experience in supervising both PhD and DBA students to successful completion. These include:
Dr Christina Boutsouki 'An analysis and evaluation of retail change in Greece with an emphasis on the post-1990 period' (PhD, The Manchester Metropolitan University; supervised with Professor David Bennison)
Dr Lisa Wilson 'Access to food shops and dietary variety among older people' (PhD, University of Surrey; supervised with Dr Margaret Lumbers)
Dr Helen Christmann 'Exploring the role of the entrepreneur in retail SME internationalisation: an analysis of retail cases in North-Western Europe' (PhD, University of Surrey; supervised with Professor Steve Wood)
Postgraduate research supervision
I welcome approaches from well-qualified and highly motivated PhD candidates in the following areas in particular:
The evolution of retail systems (including retail history)
Retailing and the development of town and city centres.
Core teaching related duties academic year: 2020 / 2021
MAN3107 International Retailing(UG, Level 6 - module coordinator)
MANM139 International Retailing (PGT, Level 7 - module coordinator)
MAND033 Professional Development Seminar (PGR, Level 8 - module coordinator)
MAND034 Seminar in Contemporary Topics: Marketing and Retail Management (PGR, Level 8 - module contributor)
MSc dissertation supervisor
Free Elsevier Share Link access to 'Augmenting the urban place brand? On the relationship between markets and town and city centres' (Journal of Business Research, 2019) until 05/08/2020 https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1bFDLXj-jRlMd
A limited number of free eprints for 'Cadbury and the supermarket: innovation in marketing 1953-1975' (Business History, 2017) are at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/IxEE2Dun9VPyEUV7PwRu/full
This article uses company archival data, supported by evidence from the trade press, to examine the development of the manufacturer–retailer relationship in the case of Cadbury and the supermarket retailers distributing its products in the period 1953–1975. It reveals the influence upon Cadbury’s marketing strategies and practices of the increasing importance of supermarket retailing in relation to the confectionery as well as the grocery goods trades. It also provides new insight into the significance of these changes for Cadbury’s relationships with other manufacturers, and with small-scale retailers typified by confectioners, tobacconists and newsagents.
This paper explores (1) the interrelationship between the commercial performance of markets and town and city centres, (2) the positive and negative spill-over effects between them and (3) the implications for the understanding of the place brand and its management. It employs a network and place branding perspective and applies a multi-method case study approach utilising surveys and semi-structured interviews with stall-, store- and city centre managers in two European cities. Results reveal strong relationships between the commercial performance of the markets and the performance of the city centres. Findings confirm bi-directional positive spill-over effects between markets and city centres. Further, they reveal negative spill-over effects related to infrastructural deficiencies of the city centres and negative by-products of the increased footfall generated by the markets. This research provides insights into the role of markets as key features of urban place products and their potential in augmenting an urban place brand.
Queues are part of everyday routine and experienced by most shoppers, yet little attention has been given to providing historical accounts of queuing as a consumer task or as a shopper experience. This paper examines grocery shop queues and the changing experience of shoppers in historical perspective, specifically focusing upon the shift from counter service to self-service grocery formats in Britain from 1945-1975. The paper draws upon a wide range of material utilising evidence from oral histories and witness groups, which are supported by contemporary sources from Mass Observation, newspapers, shopper surveys, trade publications and reports. The conceptual framework developed in the paper explores the public and private dimensions of queues to consider the experiences and perceptions of shoppers during a period of rapid change in the retail grocery system. More generally the paper contributes to our understanding of how management innovations are connected to untraded public values.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to evaluate some of the recent progress in the study of the history of retailing, with particular reference to analyses of the British retail market during the twentieth century. Design/methodology/approach Three themes were addressed, each of which has significant potential to enhance our understanding of the historical development of the retail sector. The paper considered both conceptual and empirical contributions to the discussion on the history of retailing, with particular reference to the business management literature. The approach involved a review of recently published literature. Findings Whilst there have been a number of important additions of late to the retail history literature, considerable scope remains for engagement with, and contribution to, the theory building taking place within business management. Practical implications The author identifies some of the lacunae within research on the history of retailing. Originality/value The paper illustrates some of the ways in which the study of retailing history can be productively linked with debates within contemporary studies of business management.
Stores in retail and other service agglomerations, such as high streets and shopping malls, compete with each other for customers yet they may also cooperate with each other in relation to operational and marketing matters within the agglomeration in which they are located. The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of both competition and cooperation, i.e. coopetition, on agglomeration and store performance. Drawing on the network debate, this paper develops a conceptual model and tests it in three distinctive agglomerations, each in an urban setting, namely first- and second-order high streets as well as an inner-city retail and service cluster. A total of 277 store managers served as key informants in our survey. Variance-based structural equation modelling reveals that both competition and cooperation improve agglomeration performance directly. Despite competition having a negative direct effect on stores’ performance, the overall effect is insignificant. Cooperation affects store performance positively but only indirectly. The contribution of this paper is to reveal and substantiate the complex nature and benefits of the effects of the coopetition of stores located within agglomerations. More widely it underlines the importance of managers of agglomerations understanding the differing effects of competition and cooperation and using this understanding in their management decision making.
For this new edition, all 36,000 lives from the first edition have been completely rewritten or revised-with over 13,500 new biographies added representing all ...
This research examines how managers act as a boundary spanner in two types of boundary-spanning relationships and how their boundary-spanning activities provide support for customer value creation in service networks. Using an embedded case design in three shopping centers, the results from interviews with retail store managers and shopping center managers indicate that store managers span boundaries between both the parent organization and the shopping center and between the shopping center and customers. Analysis reveals six types of boundary-spanning activities. Four serve to represent the organization (service delivery, coordination, guarding, and external communication), while two are informational in nature (outbound information collection and relay, and inbound information collection and relay). This research highlights the wide range of activities a manager can undertake to improve the competitiveness of a company and service network by enhancing customer value.
Decentralisation of many food retailers to edge-of-town and out-of-town locations has resulted in some older people experiencing difficulty in accessing food shops and those experiencing the greatest difficulties in food shopping are considered to be at the greatest nutritional risk. The present study examines how and to what extent usage of, and physical access to food shops might influence dietary variety. Shopping behaviour and dietary variety are investigated using focus groups, a consumer questionnaire and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). A dietary variety score system, developed from the FFQ, is employed in this study. Neither usage of (particular) food shops nor basic accessibility variables are found to have a direct effect on dietary variety. Yet, coping strategies employed by older consumers to obtain food are revealed to be important. This suggests that more complex access factors remain an important issue for study in relation to the shopping experience of a proportion of the older population.
We examine the development of self-service grocery shopping from a consumer perspective. Using qualitative data gathered through a nationwide biographical survey and oral histories, it was possible to go beyond contemporary market surveys which pay insufficient attention to shopping as a socially and culturally embedded practice. We use the conceptual framework of the life course to demonstrate how grocery shopping is a complex activity, in which the retail encounter is shaped by the specific interconnection of different retail formats and their geographies, alongside consumer characteristics and their situational influences. Consumer reactions to retail modernization must be understood in relation to the development of consumer practices at points of transition and stability within the life course. These practices are accessed by examining retrospective consumer narratives about food shopping.
This volume considers the emergence and development of modern retailing from an historical and management perspective in the period 1750-1950.
This article explores the early origins and growth of the supermarket in Britain. In doing so, it focuses on a number of themes, including the transfer of ideas of selling from America, and how such ideas were modified by the conditions operating in early post-war Britain. Within this context, emphasis is given to the role of individuals, commercial associations and the state in promoting the benefits of self-service. The research is based on a detailed reading of the trade press and the minute books of various retailers that now comprise the business archives of Somerfield plc.
This paper aims to describe and evaluate the activities of store managers related to their role as boundary spanners between customers, their retail management, and the management of the shopping centre in which their store is located. We present a conceptual framework that synthesises findings from the boundary spanning and the retail management literature. There we propose two types of boundary spanning activities: representational and informational including information relay related components. To explore the characteristics of each type of activity we conducted 34 in-depth interviews with store managers reflecting the retail tenant mix of a regional and a super-regional mall. A content analysis based on a multiple coding procedure reveals the existence of both types of activities. However, not all of our interviewees act as boundary spanners and thus undertake both informational and representational activities. Overall interviewees perceive boundary spanning activities as important for the management of shopping centre operations and marketing. The contribution of this paper is to (1) substantiate the overlooked role of store managers as boundary spanners between their retail organisation, the shopping centre and its customers (2) highlight their considerable potential to reflect upon and inform decision making in a shopping centre environment.
Uniquely the book examines how sales techniques relate to the wider context of a whole shopping 'experience' or shopping environment.Taken as a whole, this ...
For this new edition, all 36,000 lives from the first edition have been completely rewritten or revised-with over 13,500 new biographies added representing all ...
Purpose The paper aims to investigate the value of a network perspective in enhancing the understanding of the business to consumer marketing of high‐involvement product categories. This is achieved through the analysis of the development of fair trade marketing in the UK. Design/methodology/approach The paper addresses the research question through an analysis of relevant literatures from both marketing and other disciplinary areas. The paper is thus multidisciplinary in nature. Findings from a series of in depth, semi‐structured interviews with senior representatives of a fair trade wholesaler, of a specialist fair trade brand, of supermarket retailers involved with fair trade and of other fair trade labelling and support organisations are reported and discussed. Findings The relevance of an actor network theory (ANT) informed interpretation of the development of the fair trade marketing network is revealed. Its emphases on the processes of exchange and the role of human and non‐human actants in enabling interactions within the network are shown to be important. fair trade marketing is shown as occurring within an unfolding network of information exchanges. Analysis of this emerging network highlights a shift of emphasis in fair trade marketing from the fair trade process to fair trade products and, latterly, fair trade places. Originality/value The paper highlights the requirement for further conceptualisation of the business to consumer marketing of high‐involvement product categories, and reveals the potential of ANT as one approach to meet this need. The paper also provides a detailed insight into the development of fair trade marketing in the UK.
This paper investigates the effects of retailer and town centre actions to demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumers' evaluations of town shopping centres. Examples of CSR actions are donations to charities, support for schools or cultural or sports events and demonstrations of concern for the natural environment. Recent research literature suggests such actions can have positive effects on the attractiveness of retail stores, and hence are a potential basis of competitive advantage. This paper investigates if similar effects occur for evaluations of town shopping centres. Hypotheses about the mediating and moderating effects of CSR are tested in two conjoint experiments conducted on shoppers in the UK. The results shows that the explanatory and predictive performance of destination choice models for shopping can improve if they include indicators of a centre's CSR performance but the effects of CSR attributes are small compared to the effects of non-CSR attributes. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
While the comparatively sparse literature on small specialist retailing typically supports a proactive interpretation of the drivers of retail internationalisation, a more differentiated picture exists with regard to understanding the role of the brand construct in this process. The wider marketing literature recognises that brand identity, as well as brand image, can inform the process of internationalisation, yet research focusing on small specialist retail internationalisation remains under-developed in this regard. Neither the notion of a multi-faceted brand concept, nor its function as a strategic device in the internationalisation process has been analysed with sufficient depth. Furthermore, a better understanding of how and to what extent brand identity is interdependent upon the characteristics and activities of the entrepreneur is yet to emerge. This paper explores the construct of brand identity and its role within small specialist retail internationalisation, and the related influence of the entrepreneur on the internationalisation process. A case study approach is adopted, examining one German small specialist retailer. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews with owner managers and other senior management, an assessment of company documentation as well as participant observation, providing in-depth insights into distinctive internationalisation patterns. The study finds that a simple ‘either-or’ approach, in terms of characterising the retailer’s motivation to internationalisation as being either reactive or proactive is inadequate in understanding this particular case. Whilst initial motivation was characterised as being reactive, the motivations underpinning further planned internationalisation are determined to be more proactive. More particularly, analysis reveals how brand identity is considered to play an important role in the internationalisation of the case study retailer, and highlights the numerous ways in which the characteristics and activities of the entrepreneurial owner-managers impact on the firm’s internationalisation. This research contributes to retail and management research concerning SME internationalisation as well as to the retail-branding literature.
Literature within the fields of consumer behavior retail geography, and history attests to the varying ways that consumers use retail space not only for legitimate acts of consumption but also for illegal forms of shopping behavior. In this context, this article approaches shoplifting by customers in self-service grocery stores, including supermarkets, in the United Kingdom in the period 1950-1970. Through an analysis of a range of trade and consumer publications, the article explores how retailers and consumers reacted to and reported on the increasing rate of thefts in the period. It reveals the contradictory position of retail managers, responsible for controlling the pilferage problem but also involved in its very stimulation. It also highlights the considerable attention given to the store environment as a cause of shoplifting. The article aims to improve the understanding of the ways in which the consumer may react to periods of change in retailing. © 2005 Sage Publications.
This article uses a relational lens to explore the conflict between the regulatory state and a leading food retailer seeking store expansion within one catchment in south-east England over an eight year period. The research highlights the relational power geometries which play out in context between regulators and a regulated corporate firm to emphasise the role of power, resources, and scale. The research teases out how the power of the state to uphold an interpretation of market rules is compromised by a lack of responsiveness compared to both the proactive and reactive tactics of the well-resourced corporate retailer. It recognises how multiple regulatory agents of the state with divergent goals, sometimes situated across different spatial scales of governance, can produce markedly different judgements resulting in outcomes that are not in the public interest. Such situations require swift and coherent regulatory responses and can reveal the need for changes to the organisation of the regulatory infrastructure itself.
Purpose: The aim of this paper is to investigate (1) the link between store managers’ evaluation of how customers assess a shopping centre and their own evaluation of the centre and, based on that, (2) the relevance of store managers in reflecting upon and informing the management and marketing practices of the local shopping centre management. Methodology: A conceptual model is developed based on the network and boundary-spanning theories. The model is tested using a web-based survey of 217 managers, representing stores located in shopping malls, and by applying covariance-based structural equation modelling. Findings: The study reveals store managers to be engaging in a significant information-processing pathway, from customers’ evaluation of the shopping centre (as perceived by the store manager) to their own evaluation of the centre in terms of managerial satisfaction and loyalty. Research limitations: The empirical study focuses exclusively on shopping malls and thus does not consider other shopping centre forms such as town centres and retail parks. Practical implications: This paper concludes that store managers have the potential to be informational boundary spanners and thus valuable resources to inform and give feedback to shopping centre management. Originality: The contribution of this paper is to provide a more complete understanding of the role of the store manager as an integral actor in the shopping centre in terms of informational boundary spanning between the retail organisation, the customers and local shopping centre management.
This paper analyses the authority of store managers for the stocking and merchandising of British supermarkets in the period between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. Using oral history and business archive data, the paper assesses the case of two broadly similar retail chains. It identifies variations between the firms in relation to the extent of centralised versus decentralised control at the start of the study period. It then shows how the firms came to operate an essentially similar approach by its conclusion. Explanations for the changes identified are drawn from an assessment of the retail environment, and differences between the firms in terms of corporate culture.
Purpose – This paper seeks to evaluate the particular conditions informing locational decision making and related network planning in the charity retail sector. Its purpose is to identify both differences and commonalities with related debates that have been focussed very largely on the grocery sector and the superstore format. Its wider purpose is to contribute to the growing literature on charity retailing which has not considered this aspect of retail management in detail. Design/methodology/approach – Details the particularities of charity retailing locational decision making and network planning through a detailed case-study consideration of a hospice charity's emerging retail store network. Findings – Finds that existing conceptual and practical considerations pertaining to locational decision making in retailing require a nuanced re-revaluation in relation to the locational and network planning of charity retailers. Identifies the importance of supply chain (stock donators) and workforce factors together with the customer demand in informing locational decision making. Originality/value – Detailed academic consideration of location planning in the charity shop sector is absent in the literature. The paper addresses this.