Professor Steve Wood

Dean of Surrey Business School and Professor of Retail Marketing and Management
+44 (0)1483 683113
43 MS 02
PA: Pina Stamp


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).

    My qualifications

    2007 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), University of Surrey
    2001 PhD Economic Geography: Corporate Restructuring, Regulation and Competitive Space: The Case of the US Department Store Industry, University of Southampton.
    1998 BA (Hons) Geography 1st Class, University of Southampton.

    Affiliations and memberships

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
    Member of the European Association for Education and Research in Commercial Distribution (EAERCD)
    Honorary Member of the Society for Location Analysis (SLA)
    Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS)
    Member of the ESRC Peer Review College (2015-2019)


    Research interests


    Postgraduate research supervision

    My teaching

    Courses I teach on


    My publications


    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 ( and I will send you a pdf.


    Wood S, Myers H, Alexander A (2009) Guest Editorial: Special issue of papers from the EAERCD?s 15th International Conference on Research in the Distributive Trades, University of Surrey, UK, The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research19(4)pp. 313-315
    The retail geography literature has long recognised the importance of spatial and catchment analysis to inform decision-making relating to store development. However, less attention has been directed to store development ?in practice? and, more specifically, how location research and geographical knowledge is leveraged across the wider retail business ? in particular informing the marketing function. Through the use of a semi-structured interview and focus group methodology involving approximately 40 location planning, property & marketing analysts, we find that while some larger retailers have established close links between store development and marketing functions in the exchange of catchment, customer, competitor and loyalty card data to inform local marketing, product ranging, promotional mailings and post-opening store performance reviews, this tends to be the exception rather than the rule. We suggest there is a need for location planners to develop their intra-organisational legitimacy to engender a culture of knowledge-sharing and challenge the departmentalised, silo cultures that exist within some retailers in order to better leverage geographical insights and assist in the realisation of appropriate customer propositions and marketing strategies.
    Wood SM (2001) 'Consuming Interests: The Social Provision of Foods', Progress in Human Geography25pp. 137-138
    Teller C, Wood S, Floh A (2016) Adaptive Resilience and the Competition Between Retail and Service Agglomeration Formats: An International Perspective,Journal of Marketing Management32(17-18)pp. 1537-1561 Taylor & Francis
    This paper investigates the competitive relationship between dominant urban agglomeration formats (traditional ?evolved? town centres and ?created? shopping malls) and the drivers of competiveness in the form of key agglomeration resources (accessibility, parking condition, tenant mix, atmosphere). Based on a consumer survey (n, 2,161) across three distinctive European capital cities, co-variance based structural equation modelling reveals remarkably limited differences between formats in terms of the investigated drivers of competitiveness. Positive relationships of patronage towards both formats in all cities and the significant difference in why respondents patronise them suggest a partly complementary existence of the two types of agglomeration. We explain this apparent complementarity through the theory of adaptive resilience that has seen evolved agglomeration formats develop to provide a differentiated offer and consumer attraction compared to enclosed malls.
    Wood SM (2001) Regulatory constrained portfolio restructuring: the US department store industry in the 1990s,Environment and Planning A33(7)pp. 1279-1304 Pion
    The US department store industry has undergone a recent round of strategic acquisition-based portfolio 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 decisions.
    Wood SM (2013) Revisiting the US food retail consolidation wave: Regulation, market power and spatial outcomes,Journal of Economic Geography13(2)pp. 299-326 Oxford University Press
    This paper revisits Neil Wrigley?s influential research that explored the corporate restructuring of the US food retail sector, which was characterised by a focus on the spatial implications of merger activity, market concentration and competition regulation. It assesses the importance of this scholarship in a contemporary context, tracking these competitive and regulatory trends from a decade ago to the present. This is of particular interest given the continued concentration of market power and related competitive shake-out; the innovative experimentation with new store formats; anti-trust rulings concerning market definition by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and the challenges faced by European entrants to the market.
    Wood SM, McCarthy D (2014) The UK food retail ?race for space? and market saturation:a contemporary review,International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research24(2)pp. 121-144
    This conceptual review paper explores food retail space saturation in the UK in the 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.
    Wood S (2011) Organisational rigidities and marketing theory: examining the US department store c.1910-1965,SERVICE INDUSTRIES JOURNAL31(5)pp. 747-770 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
    Wood SM, Reynolds J (2010) Retail location planning: the state of the art, European Retail DigestSpringpp. 54-63
    Wood SM, Wrigley N, Coe NM (2016) Capital Discipline and Financial Market Relations in Retail Globalization: Insights from the Case of Tesco plc, Journal of Economic Geography17(1)pp. 31-57 Oxford University Press
    This article provides an in-depth study of leading transnational food retailer Tesco plc to explore how its financial management and relations with the investment community?notably its reputation for capital discipline?underpinned successful expansion. Informed by close dialogue with equity analysts, we investigate how this model deteriorated since the late 2000s with declining returns, leading to high-profile international divestitures. The analysis assesses the drivers of these difficulties, and conceptualizes them. It examines how the retailer, pressured by the investment community, reviewed its international strategy and attempted to ?reset? its relations with capital markets to re-emphasize shareholder value and returns. The research teases out the manner in which legitimacy with capital markets underpins the extent, pace and form of global retail expansion, leading to significant implications for workers, consumers and wider stakeholders across spatially dispersed host markets.
    Wood SM, Reynolds J (2012) Managing communities and managing knowledge: strategic decision making and store network investment within retail multinationals,Journal of Economic Geography12(2)pp. 539-565 Oxford University Press
    The manner in which knowledge is spatially generated, reproduced and diffused is of 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.
    Wood SM (2002) Organisational restructuring, knowledge and spatial scale: the case of the US department store industry,Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geographie93(1)pp. 8-33 Wiley
    Recent economic geography literature has underlined the role of tacit/local knowledge in embedding firms within 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.
    Wrigley N, Lambiri D, Astbury G, Dolega L, Hart C, Reeves C, Thurstain-Goodwin M, Wood Steve (2015) British High Streets: from Crisis to Recovery? A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence, University of Southampton
    Perry P, Fernie J, Wood SM (2014) The international fashion supply chain and corporate social responsibility, In: Fernie J, Sparks L (eds.), Logistics and Retail Management: Emerging issues and new challenges in the retail supply chain4pp. 77-100 Kogan Page
    Wrigley N, Shaw H, Guy C, Wood SM (2007) Relocalising Food Shopping. Consumer Responses to Supply Chain Transformation in the UK Convenience Store Sector, University of Southampton
    Perry P, Wood SM, Fernie J (2015) Corporate Social Responsibility in Garment Sourcing Networks: Factory Management Perspectives on Ethical Trade in Sri Lanka,Journal of Business Ethics130(3)pp. 737-752 Springer
    With complex buyer-driven global production networks and a labour-intensive manufacturing process, the fashion industry has become a focal point for debates on the social responsibility of business. Utilising an interview methodology with influential actors from seven export garment manufacturers in Sri Lanka, we explore the situated knowledge at one nodal point of the production network. We conceptualise factory management perspectives on the implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in terms of the strategic balancing of ethical considerations against the commercial pressures of cost and lead time. Factory managers framed CSR in terms of compliance, rather than going above and beyond regulatory requirements; seeing it as a strategic competitive imperative and less a developmental mechanism. Sri Lankan manufacturers maintain that they have benefitted from a unique combination of factors, including strict national labour laws, an educated workforce, the characteristics of the garments produced, industrial upgrading, and long-term non-adversarial buyer-supplier relationships, which they argue has supported the establishment and maintenance of CSR practices. The paper thus provides managerial implications that relate CSR activities to CSR outcomes which include both reputational and production benefits. Such insights will be of strategic relevance for lead retail buyers as well as apparel producers keen to invest in CSR to partly mitigate against increasing price-based competition.
    Wood SM, Coe NM, Wrigley N (2014) Multi-Scalar Localization and Capability Transference: Exploring Embeddedness in the Asian Retail Expansion of Tesco,Regional Studies50(3)pp. 475-495 Taylor & Francis
    This paper revisits the ?firm in the region? and the ?region in the firm? dichotomy through the case of Tesco?s retail expansion in Asia. It focuses on the tension between the transference of proven key capabilities to the host economies Tesco has entered, and strategic localization, primarily for customer-facing, corporate culture, regulatory and institutional reasons. We demonstrate how the retailer has pursued a multi-scalar adaptive approach that goes beyond any standardized/localized dichotomy to respond to differences between and within national markets. In the process, we provide evidence of genuine two-way knowledge flow between the home market and subsidiaries, between subsidiaries themselves, and of subsidiaries granted autonomy and the ability to flex their strategies.
    Wood S, Tasker A (2008) The importance of context in store forecasting: the site visit in retail location decision-making,Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing16(2)pp. 139-155 Palgrave Macmillan
    The aim of this paper is to investigate how practical store location decision-making balances 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.
    Christmann H, Alexander A, Wood SM (2015) Exploring Brand Identity and Entrepreneurship as Drivers of Small Specialist Retailer Internationalisation: A German Case Study,International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research26(2)pp. 137-153 Taylor & Francis
    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.
    Wood SM (2011) Book review. The Economic Geography of the UK Neil M. Coe and Andrew Jones (eds.),Journal of Economic Geography12(1)pp. 321-323 Oxford University Press
    Wood S, Lowe MS, Wrigley N (2006) Life after PPG6: recent UK food retailer responses to planning regulation tightening,International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research16(1)pp. 23-41 Taylor & Francis
    Despite ever tightening retail planning regulation in the UK, the leading food retailers have continued 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.
    Wood SM, Reynolds J (2013) Knowledge management, organisational learning and memory in UK retail network planning,Service Industries Journal33(2)pp. 150-170 Taylor & Francis
    The forecasting of sales from potential store development opportunities is typically supported by 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.
    Wood S (2009) The globalization of retailing, vol 1-2, Business History51(6)pp. 978-980 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
    Wood SM, Browne S (2006) Convenience store sales forecasting - art before science?,European Retail Digest15pp. 15-18 Oxford Institute of Retail Management
    The science of store location decision making and sales forecasting has received a huge degree of attention throughout retail management and retail geography research. This literature has focused on the conceptualisation of techniques for determining the optimal location and sales, primarily of the food supermarket.
    Wood SM, Reynolds J (2011) The intra-firm context of retail expansion planning,Environment and Planning A43(10)pp. 2468-2491 Pion
    The benefits that rigorous analysis can have for retail store portfolio management in 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.
    Wood S, Lowe M, Wrigley N (2010) Conceptualising innovative customer-facing responses to planning regulation: the UK food retailers,SERVICE INDUSTRIES JOURNAL30(12)PII 927249143pp. 1967-1990 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
    Wood SM, Adams R, Lowe M, Neely A (2008) ESRC Business Engagement Project: A Scoping Study of Contemporary and Future Challenges in the UK Retail Sector, Advanced Institute of Management (AIM)
    Wood SM (2002) The limits to portfolio restructuring: lessons from regional consolidation in the US department store industry, Regional Studies36(5)pp. 515-529
    Okeahalam CC, Wood S (2009) Financing internationalisation: a case study of an African retail transnational corporation,JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY9(4)pp. 511-537 OXFORD UNIV PRESS
    Wood SM, Wrigley N, Currah A (2003) Investment bank analysts and knowledge in economic geography, Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research35pp. 381-387
    Establishing territorial embeddedness within host regions in international retail expansion is well-known to be important, although the processes underpinning its realisation are less explicit. This research analyses some ?emerging practices? of international expansion planning by drawing on interviews across a sample of store development departments. The role of analysts within host regions in evaluating economic, institutional, cultural and social contexts and appraising the viability of market-entry methods and store formats is explored. The competitive and regulatory dynamism of regions means that behaviour which encourages greater embeddedness following market entry can be particularly helpful in strengthening the marketing and development strategies of international subsidiaries.
    Wrigley N, Wood S (2018) An Economic Geography of Globalizing Retail: Emergence, Characteristics, Contribution,In: Cook G, Beaverstock J, Johns J, McDonald F, Pandit N (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Geography of International Business Routledge
    By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century ? more than fifteen years after Gereffi?s (1994) identification of retailer buyer-driven global supply chains, and the subsequent engagement of economic geographers with the transformational impacts of multinational retailers within emerging economies (Coe and Wrigley, 2007) ? Hamilton et al. (2011, p 3) summarised the increasing consensus that large retailers had become ?the key organisers of the global economy?. But what have been the contributions of international business studies (IB) and economic geography to this consensus? In this chapter, we provide an assessment of these contributions in order to understand how economic geography has been able to make a distinct and strategically important impact despite its modest scale compared to the critical mass of international business studies.
    Wood S, Alexander A (2016) Regulation in Practice: Power, Resources and Context at the Local Scale in UK Food Retailing,Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research48(9)pp. 1848-1863 Sage
    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.
    Coe N., Lee Y-S., Wood Steven (2017) Conceptualising contemporary retail divestment: Tesco?s departure from South Korea,Environment and Planning A49(12)pp. 2739-2761 SAGE Publications
    In this article, we critically analyse UK retailer, Tesco?s September 2015 decision to sell its highly profitable South Korean subsidiary Homeplus to private investors. For over a decade since market entry in 1999, Homeplus had grown steadily to achieve a market-leading position through a process of strategic localization in which Tesco?s global business practices were selectively adapted to meet the specific needs of the South Korean market. Against this backdrop, we explain the exit decision through theorising the dynamic intersection of home and host market factors that developed contemporaneously from 2010 onwards. On the one hand, worsening market conditions and financial pressures in a post-crisis UK domestic market drove Tesco to refocus on its home operations and, ultimately, identify saleable assets to offset mounting debts. On the other hand, steadily growing resistance within the South Korean market from competitors, regulators, labour and consumers caused sales growth to stall and then start to decline. Our analysis contributes to the economic geography literature on retail divestment by conceptualising the relational process of divestment decision-making that encompasses the intersection of home and host market pressures as well as conditions across the wider portfolio of subsidiaries. The research is particularly distinctive in its profiling of this coevolution of drivers, and in distilling the different ?domains? of host market contestation. The analysis also has wider significance in the context of the broader literatures on economic globalization that have tended to focus heavily on processes of expansion and market entry and far less on the instances of failure and exit that are an integral and inevitable part of these wider dynamics.
    Nguyen H, Wood SM, Wrigley N (2013) The emerging food retail structure of Vietnam: phases of expansion in a post-socialist environment,International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management41(8)pp. 596-626 Emerald

    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.

    Wood SM, Wrigley N (2007) Market power and regulation: The last great US department store consolidation?,International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management35(1)pp. 20-37 Emerald

    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.

    Wood S, Wrigley N, Coe N (2016) Capital Discipline and Financial Market Relations in Retail Globalization: Insights from the Case of Tesco plc,Journal of Economic Geography17(1)pp. 31-57 Oxford Journals
    This paper provides an in-depth study of leading transnational food retailer Tesco plc to explore how its financial management and relations with the investment community ? notably its reputation for capital discipline ? underpinned successful expansion. Informed by close dialogue with equity analysts, we investigate how this model deteriorated since the late 2000s with declining returns, leading to high-profile international divestitures. The analysis assesses the drivers of these difficulties, and conceptualises them. It examines how the retailer, pressured by the investment community, reviewed its international strategy and attempted to ?reset? its relations with capital markets to re-emphasise shareholder value and returns. The research teases out the manner in which legitimacy with capital markets underpins the extent, pace and form of global retail expansion, leading to significant implications for workers, consumers and wider stakeholders across spatially dispersed host markets.
    Wrigley Neil, Wood Steve, Lambiri Dionysia, Lowe Michelle (2019) Corporate Convenience Store Development Effects in Small Towns: Convenience Culture during Economic and Digital Storms,Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space51(1)pp. 112-132 SAGE Publications
    The impact of global economic crisis, together with the ?digital? storm of unrelenting growth 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.
    Perry Patsy, Wood Steve (2018) The International Fashion Supply Chain and Corporate Social Responsibility,In: Fernie J, Sparks L (eds.), Logistics and Retail Managementpp. 97-127 Kogan Page
    Wood Steve, Browne S (2007) Convenience store location planning and forecasting - A practical research agenda,International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management35(4)pp. 233-255 Emerald

    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.

    Research/practical implications:

    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.

    Alexander A, Cryer D, Wood Steve (2008) Location planning in charity retailing,International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management36(7)pp. 536-550 Emerald
    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.

    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.

    Watson I, Wood Steve, Fernie J (2015) 'Passivity' A Model of Grocery Retail Price Decision-making Practice,European Journal of Marketing49(7/8)pp. 1040-1066 Emerald Group Publishing
    Purpose ? This paper explores the applied context of grocery retail pricing practice to understand how pricing executives approach ?regular price? decision-making (as opposed to promotional pricing). The study seeks to inductively develop a model of regular price decision-making in grocery retailing. Methodology ? The research employs an inductive methodology involving interviews with pricing executives working for grocery retailers that account for approximately 85% of UK, and 64% of US, grocery market retail sales. Our approach is appropriate given the underdeveloped research insights into regular pricing within food retailers. Findings ? We find that regular pricing is undertaken with little sophistication; typically on the basis of simple, inflexible rules that result in conflicting goals. We identify a typology of three pricing roles, though all share an underdeveloped understanding of the effects of price changes on customer demand and the implications of competitor reactions. These contexts, causes and conditions lead to a range of consequences; notably a degree of pricing inertia, ?customer-less? pricing, and ?enforced symbiosis? ? coping outcomes. Taken together we identify a theory of ?passivity? pricing. Originality/value ? The research presents a contribution to new knowledge in the field of retail marketing by developing theory in retail pricing. In contrast to much extant research on grocery pricing, this paper accesses the insights and opinions of the pricing executives themselves. It exposes the realities of regular price decision-making across two developed retail markets and offers managerial insights. Keywords: retailing, pricing, grocery retailing, EDLP, HiLo, food retailing Article classification: Research paper
    Reynolds J, Wood Steve (2010) Location decision-making in retail firms: evolution and challege,International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management38(11/12)pp. 828-845 Emerald
    The paper has three objectives: first, to reflect on the contribution of this journal to the study of retail location assessment and decision-making; second, to use the results of a questionnaire survey of retailers to assess the employment of location assessment techniques a decade since a similar survey conducted by Hernández and Bennison (2000); third, in the light of these results, to conclude what likely challenges the location planning profession will face over the next decade.
    Wood Steve, Coe Neil M., Watson Iain, Teller Christoph (2019) Dynamic Processes of Territorial Embeddedness in International Online Fashion Retailing,Economic Geography Taylor & Francis
    Global retail expansion involves dynamic relations between retailers and variegated institutional, competitive and consumer-based demands across different spatial scales. Economic geographers have framed these processes through the inter-related concepts of territorial, network and societal embeddedness of store-based retailers, but with a neglect of online retail TNCs which might enter overseas markets with minimal risk and sunk cost. This research assesses the relevance of concepts of embeddedness in the light of virtual retail networks by assessing how knowledge from the home market mediates any perceived need to localize within host market consumer cultures and institutions to achieve legitimacy, and, in turn, whether these activities might occur as a virtual or physical process. We undertook extensive case study research within five leading international online fashion retailers headquartered in the UK, involving fifty-five semi-structured interviews with chief executives, managing-, operations-, buying- and merchandising-directors. Our findings reveal market entry to be dominated by an inward-looking societal embeddedness approach with limited investment in overseas physical infrastructure and personnel as the management of product ranges and pricing, along with merchandise fulfilment, typically reside in the home market. Yet, with international experience, we conceptualize a staged and currently limited investment in territorial embeddedness through local subsidiary offices critical to realizing network embeddedness with the fashion media and the re-organization of fulfilment within some key host countries and wider supranational regions. Such developments demand increased investment and a decentralization of authority which will, in turn, likely necessitate significant reorganization of these emergent international firms.
    Alexander Andrew, Teller Christoph, Wood Steve (2019) Augmenting the urban place brand ? On the relationship between markets and town and city centres,Journal of Business Research Elsevier
    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.
    While the international business literature increasingly sees SME internationalisation as the act of the entrepreneur, the retail management literature lacks insights into the role of the entrepreneur in retail SME internationalisation. Neither entrepreneurial characteristics nor actions are sufficiently understood. A critical research gap relates to entrepreneurial marketing and management of brand identity ? a key resource enabling differentiation ? as well as networking that helps overcoming resource and competence deficiencies. This thesis seeks to advance the retail management literature by putting the entrepreneur in the centre of attention. Recent debates on international entrepreneurship in combination with those on the dynamic capabilities-based view are integrated. In doing so, it is aimed for a focussed exploration of entrepreneurial characteristics and marketing- and networking-related dynamic capabilities, and how these underpin retail SME internationalisation. 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.
    Wood Steve, Faulconbridge Jame, Watson Iain, Teller Christoph (2020) ?Business Code/Spaces? in digital service firms: The case of online multinational fashion retailing,GEOFORUM PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
    The impacts of digital technology on the spaces and practices of firms are of increasing concern, yet we know comparatively little about how emerging digital business models affect the ?business spaces? of service firms. We draw on case study research within five leading online fashion retailers to identify interweaving virtual and physical spaces of online retailing that are expressed through intra- and inter-firm digital interdependency management. This allows us to build a conceptualisation of the ?business code/spaces? of digital service firms, i.e., the entanglements between virtual, information-rich and responsive networked infrastructures, and materially and socially situated infrastructures. The conceptualisation of ?business code/spaces? reveals how combinations of embedded interpersonal decision-making within office-based work communities, networked partners, their established processes and bureaucracies, as well as the physical restrictions of space and place together reproduce spatial fixes and local?global geographies, but in ways fundamentally defined by digital technologies and business models. Our conceptualisation of ?business code/spaces?, therefore, contributes to research examining the inter-relationships between ?the digital? and business practices as well as work concerning global retailing.