Professor Steve Wood
Professor Steve Wood is Dean of Surrey Business School and Professor of Retail Marketing & Management. He was previously Director of Research, School REF lead, as well as Head of the Department of Marketing and Retail Management. Earlier, Steve was Reader in Strategy, University of Southampton (2011-2012), and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at University of Surrey (2005-2011). His research particularly focuses on:
- The internationalization of retailing
- Retail stores, locations, competition policy and supply networks
- Retail pricing
- The economic geography of Africa
An economic geographer by training, Steve has published widely in leading journals including Economic Geography, Journal of Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Business Research, Regional Studies, Journal of Business Ethics, The Service Industries Journal, Journal of Marketing Management and European Journal of Marketing amongst others. His research has been cited by the press in publications such as The Economist, China Daily and Retail Week. He is European Regional Editor for the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management and regularly acts as a referee for a range of highly rated academic journals. He has been a member of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) Scholars’ Pool and the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Peer Review College (2015-2019). In June 2019 he was Visiting Professor at Global Production Networks Centre at the National University of Singapore. Steve has received research funding from the John Lewis Partnership, SONY, Advanced Institute of Management (AIM), British Academy of Management (BAM), NEMODE/EPSRC and the Nuffield Foundation. An experienced examiner, he is currently external examiner for undergraduate management programmes at University of Bristol (2017-2021), having fulfilled the same role at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (2011-2014) amongst others.
Prior to 2005, Steve spent three years at Tesco plc in its marketing and property departments advising on store development strategy both domestically and abroad, and also has experience as a Retail Analyst for Verdict Research, a London-based retail consultancy. He is a member of the Economic Geography Research Group of the Royal Geography Society (Committee Member); the Society for Location Analysis (SLA), the European Association for Education & Research in Commercial Distribution (EAERCD), the National Retail Planning Forum Research Committee as well as a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and Higher Education Academy (FHEA).
Since 2018, Steve has been a Trustee of Bohunt Education Trust, a Multi Academy Trust comprising six secondary schools and over 7,000 students, latterly acting as inaugural Chair of its Education Committee. Earlier, between 2012-15, he sat on the governing body of Ash Manor School where he was Chair of its Curriculum Committee. He is also a leader at his local village Cub Scout pack in Hampshire and Assistant Manager of the mighty Under 11 Liphook Pumas football team. Steve is match going Chelsea FC member, regularly watches Aldershot Town and is often found kayaking in rivers and the sea.
University roles and responsibilities
- Director of Research, Surrey Business School (2016 – 2020)
- Member of Surrey Business School Senior Management Team (2016 – present)
- Head of Department for Marketing and Retail Management, Surrey Business School (Prior to 2016).
Affiliations and memberships
Professor Steve Wood's research partiucalrly focuses on:
- The internationalization of retailing
- The economic geography of retailing (particularly related to retail store locations, portfolio management, retail centres and places; retail land-use planning policy, retail regulation, retail competition policy, retail supply chains and sourcing networks etc.)
- Retail pricing
Steve has published in leading social science journals including Economic Geography, Journal of Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Regional Studies, Journal of Business Ethics, The Service Industries Journal, Journal of Marketing Management and European Journal of Marketing amongst others. His research has been cited by the press in publications such as The Economist, China Daily and Retail Week. He is European Regional Editor for the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, regularly acts as a referee for a range of highly rated academic journals and is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College (2015-2019). He has received research funding from the John Lewis Partnership, Advanced Institute of Management (AIM), British Academy of Management (BAM), NEMODE/EPSRC and the Nuffield Foundation.
Postgraduate research supervision
2017 – present
Zhi Han – International Retailing in China (Supervision with Prof Christoph Teller) - Full time PhD
2012 – present
Helen Christmann – International Retail Expansion of SMEs
(Supervision with Prof Andrew Alexander)
Part time PhD
2008 – 2014
Passed - July 2014
Alexander Karl - The Success Factors of Horizontal Co-operations in Technical Wholesaling?
(Supervision with Prof Reinhard Bachmann)
Part time DBA
2007 – 2013
Passed – August 2013
Dieter Naegele-Preissmann – Purchasing Competence and the Role of the Service Purchasing Agent in Organisational Alignment: A Social Capital Perspective
(Supervision with Prof Panos Louvieris)
Part time DBA
Professor Steve Wood teaches on the following modules:
MAN3107 - International Retailing (Module Convenor)
MAN2095 - Managing Retail Locations (Module Contributor)
MAND034 - Contemporary Topics: Marketing and Retail Management (Module Contributor)
Courses I teach on
Please see my Research Gate site where I add open access versions of all of my publications. If you want the journal typeset version and do not have access, just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a pdf.
restructuring. This paper analyses one such acquisition, studying how its geography is restructured in the premerger
stage to conform to the Federal Trade Commission's 'fix-it-first' policy and to improve the strategic fit of
the transaction. The article then investigates evidence, and analyses the effects, of a new era of stricter FTC
enforcement, where divestiture may no longer be sufficient in cases of horizontal market overlap.
Fundamentally, the paper considers the nature of 'real' regulation in action, as rules partially dictate investment
light of an apparent recent peak of store space growth, an inferred decline of the
hypermarket format, and, in particular, the stagnation and subsequent deterioration in
performance of the UK market leader, Tesco. Despite saturation being widely
discussed by retail executives and analysts, the last significant academic work in this
area occurred in the mid-1990s. In this paper, we develop an understanding of retail
saturation that rests on a spatial conceptualization of retail development at a local
catchment level and rationalize why, and in what ways, saturation manifests itself
through sales impacts and cannibalization. In the process, we analyse the differing local
effects of new store openings, store extensions and format innovation to illustrate how
saturation is contingent on local catchment conditions, competitive interactions and the
particular geography of retail brands and formats. Although a significant slowdown in
new store construction may be a logical response at the level of the industry, this may
not necessarily be the case for individual retail firms.
interest to students of economic geography and business management alike. This
paper seeks to contribute to these debates by drawing on the results of a year-long
study with analysts working in location-planning departments of multinational
retailers to determine: a) how different types of knowledge are mediated within
organisational contexts to inform store development; and b) the extent to which
analysis can be successfully formalised into ?best practice?. We find that while
quantitative models of sales forecasting have become established, analysis on a dayto-
day basis sees judgements made by analyst ?communities? without perfect data, as
experience and intuitive insights contribute to corporate decision-making.
Furthermore, a number of communities-of-practice across the retail firm, consisting of
actors with different backgrounds and agendas, contribute to outcomes.
Understanding the power relations embedded within (and across) these communities
is essential to conceptualise the store expansion process.
their locales, characterised by the work on "learning regions", "territorial embeddedness", "institutional thickness"
and "new industrial spaces". This paper contributes to this theoretical debate, using evidence from organisational
restructuring of the U.S. department store industry to argue that, in contrast, retailers are using codified/universal
knowledge, supported by tacit/local knowledge to successfully operate their retail operations across a range of
spatial scales. As such, no one form of knowledge is exclusively relied upon but rather a blend of knowledges
reduces costs and increases responsiveness across space.
and new challenges in the retail supply chain 4 pp. 77-100 Kogan Page
formal modelling with the less well-studied informal qualitative inputs. By using case studies
from one major UK food retailer, we find that informal knowledge has to be considered
seriously alongside quantitative models despite the inclusion of such knowledge often proving
challenging. In particular, the site visit has a key role in contextualising factors that are
difficult to represent in formal ?modelled? data, and in calibrating the inputs to models that
are becoming increasingly advanced. We conclude that conceptualising the role of
knowledge management in retail store decision-making has been under-theorised but can
offer a key to advancing our understanding of this process still further.
Neil M. Coe and Andrew Jones (eds.),Journal of Economic Geography 12 (1) pp. 321-323 Oxford University Press
to add floorspace in a remarkably consistent manner, progressively increasing their domination of the
market. This paper examines the innovative responses of those firms to planning legislation ?
responses which have included: working within the constraints of that regulation; exposing and
exploiting flaws in the legislation, and circumventing its impacts by expansion into more fragmented
markets. Such responses, have in turn led to the further adaptation of planning regulation in order to
close a series of loopholes that the leading food retailers have been quick to exploit to aid their
expansion plans. The paper concludes by examining more broadly what these developments imply for
organizational adaptation and corporate restructuring.
quantitative modelling techniques which vary in their sophistication and practical application between
retail firms. While previous research suggests analysts reach outcomes by blending modelled
knowledge with intuition and experience, how this occurs in practice is only partially understood. By
adopting a qualitative methodology involving interviews with experts, this paper makes an incremental
contribution to the literature by detailing how tacit knowledge is synthesised with modelled, codified
knowledge to affect the decision-making of senior management in UK-based retail firms. Analysis can
also extend to post-opening reviews that offer the opportunity to improve local marketing and product
ranging, and from which key lessons can be drawn for subsequent forecasting. Efforts are made by
many large retailers to retain expertise and develop institutional ?memory? by codifying tacit
knowledge, though these processes often rely upon the expertise embedded within broader intra- and
extra- firm social networks. Success therefore appears to comprise structured but flexible forecasting
routines alongside a focus on learning, continuity and communication within analyst teams.
guiding and informing investment decisions (store expansion; closure; extension; refascia
and acquisition) is well established within the economic geography research
literature. However, studies of retailers addressing location planning in practice have
identified wide variation in the sophistication of techniques and resources employed as
well as in terms of the credibility that such research and analysis receives from senior
management within the firm. By drawing on a qualitative research project involving
some 40 location planning analysts, consultants and managers at UK-based retailers, we
differentiate between three approaches to store portfolio decision-making that differ in
terms of resource allocation, sophistication and legitimacy. We seek to explain those
differences that are embedded within the context of intra-firm relations and social
communities by drawing on theories from strategic management concerning core
rigidities, lock-in and legitimisation, and review the challenges that location planners
face in gaining legitimacy within the organisation, along with strategies appropriate for
increasing their acceptance and influence across the firm.
To trace the modernisation of the retail structure of Vietnam from a closed market to one that is increasingly open to retail TNC entry and associated Western retail formats.
We undertake this study of retail change through the analysis of a wide range of governmental and industry secondary data ? much of which has not entered western academic debate given the challenges of access and translation. In doing so, we relate this period of adaptation to well-known studies concerning the diffusion of western forms of retailing discussed across the social sciences.
As a country encountering the 3rd wave of supermarket proliferation within emerging markets, we find that Vietnam?s experience broadly fits the models of retail Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) entry and retail ?modernisation? suggested by Natawidjaja et al. and Dries et al. The retail change process was affected by a slow, progressive creep of market liberalisation where, as late as 2009, a foreign partner could hold only up to 49% of capital in a joint venture. While our analysis of the evidence suggests some retailers flouted these laws or employed creative approaches to mitigating their effects, such regulations clearly underpinned a less intense initial influx of retail FDI than had been experienced elsewhere in Asia and maintained a high domestic ownership level in the retail market. Retail modernisation has intensified in recent years with greater international entry, expansion and retail format proliferation diffusing from cities to more rural locations though the top five grocery operators still account for less than 4% of the grocery market.
Studies within retail management of retail internationalisation have tended to focus on fully liberalised countries that have attracted high rates of retail capital. In contrast, we are focusing on understanding the emergence of one of the countries somewhat later to these trends.
To examine the impact of the merger of the two largest US department store companies on the competitive state of the sector and specifically the anti-trust implications of the consolidation.
Based on semi-structured interviews with leading US department store executives as well as an ongoing close dialogue with US retail analysts.
The consolidation raises considerable anti-trust issues with the creation of a $30 bill sales company. Consistent with previous recent rulings, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted a broad view of the department store market from the standpoint that the consolidation is essentially defensive ? in short, the sector is failing because it is not a separate and distinct market. However, the divestiture of 75 stores will give competitors footholds in new markets thereby changing the geography of competition in many catchments. This is likely to be the largest consolidation that the competition authorities will effectively allow, representing the last opportunity for the sector to become a more robust competitor against alternative formats that have intervened in its key product lines.
Recent restructuring of the US department store industry has generated a relatively limited academic literature, despite considerable M&A activity, subsequent organisational reorganisation, and sales of $88 bill per year. Transformation of the competitive landscape of the industry raises important issues of market regulation and corporate strategy.
in online retail and its complex substitution and modification effects, had significant
implications for UK town centres and high streets. Dramatically increased vacancy rates within
town centres have focused policy debate on the drivers of their vitality and viability in the
context of profound technological and consumer culture shifts. As consumers turned away
from ?big basket? one-stop weekly shops at large out-of-centre stores, and began shopping
?little and often? using a fragmented range of alternatives, the convenience store sector,
significantly altered by corporate entry, grew rapidly. However, there is surprisingly little
empirical evidence on the impacts of these new-generation corporate convenience stores on
town centres and communities. This paper helps fill that gap by reporting the findings of a
study of five small towns in southern England. Drawing on evidence from surveys of over
1,500 consumers and 200 traders, we show that despite their modest size, these stores have
rapidly assumed significant and little documented trip generation and ?anchor? roles essential
to the sustainability of the centres. Moreover, they have facilitated trends towards
?relocalisation? of food shopping, reduction in car dependency, and higher than expected levels
of linked trips. In this paper, we draw out the significance of those findings and position them
within wider conceptual and policy debates. We also stress the spatially and temporally
contingent nature of the findings within a dynamic technological and regulatory context.
To compare the accepted techniques of location analysis in the food sector with the realities of ?real world? forecasting in convenience store (c-store) retailing. To offer a conceptual framework for c-store operators intending to become more strategic in their small store location planning but currently lacking established expertise or extensive research budgets.
Outlines potential best practice based on industry experience, and contact and discussion with location analysts and retail consultants, as well as a wide ranging examination of the academic literature in this area.
First, to briefly detail the strategic regulatory motivations and location planning implications of the major UK food retailers entering this market. Second, to summarise the established sales forecasting techniques in food retailing. Third, to review why these established approaches are difficult to apply to convenience stores in neighbourhood markets. Fourth, to detail basic approaches that should be further developed by small store operators lacking budgets to develop specialist location planning departments.
Academic conceptualisations of location planning in the convenience store sector are largely absent from the literature. This paper adopts a practical perspective.
The financial restructuring of the US department store industry is commonly interpreted as a time of corporate excess, value-destruction and ultimately collapse. This research aims to re-analyse these events using qualitative methods to understand the background to the leveraged transactions and to review the implications that their failure had for the longer term strategy and structure of the US department store industry.
The research is based on two extensive periods of fieldwork in the United States when the author interviewed (n=28) many of the protagonists of the 1980s restructuring period and those who inherited the management of the bankrupt businesses in the 1990s. By adopting a qualitative perspective, we are accessing social and human perspectives of these developments as well as their wider effects.
The leveraged transactions were conceptually an appropriate attempt to centralise the structure of the industry but their execution was not possible under such extreme financial distress. However, bankruptcy protection provided the environmental conditions to realise the benefits of more efficient strategic and subsequent wide-ranging structural change.
This research differs from economistic readings of the period that analyse changes in market value of the constituent firms and the more reactionary journalistic accounts. The paper re-casts the failed financial restructuring in a new light, underlining the regenerative effects of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in promoting firm revival, alongside visionary leadership.
This thesis adopts an exploratory inductive research design, including 54 interviews with industry-experts and elite informants from nine North-Western European retail SMEs. It identifies international experiences, international entrepreneurial orientation and learning orientation as vital characteristics that inform internationalisation decision-making and problem-solving. Through specific marketing-related dynamic capabilities, the entrepreneur coherently re-creates and renews brand identity in international markets. In doing so, he/she stimulates differentiation and superior competitiveness. Identified entrepreneurial networking-related dynamic capabilities do not directly contribute to differentiation and competitiveness. Instead, they are found to promote marketing-related capabilities. Building upon these results, this study develops the first academic framework depicting retail SME internationalisation as a process driven by the entrepreneur.
This study clarifies the role of the entrepreneur in retail SME internationalisation, moving beyond the retail management literature?s previous firm-level focus. It thus closes a critical research gap. The international business literature benefits from called-for empirical substantiation of the dynamic capabilities-based view. Practitioners learn how specific entrepreneurial characteristics and actions inform successful internationalisation, stimulating critical reflection of own practices.