Retail related research that is initiated by WELBECK retail is intended for publication after peer review in academic journals. Through this means it is available freely in the public domain and adds to the currency of our own knowledge and understanding.

WELBECK retail will accept commissions to carry out research in subject areas related to retail locations, spatial and land use analyses in town centres and matters affecting rural retailing economies.

CURRENT and planned research

Currently research is being undertaken to consider the responses by businesses, especially SME retailers, to the flooding events of 2007 and at other times. There have been significant reviews for and by various governmental departments and executive agencies, not least the Pitt Report, but these do not show how the businesses in the way of previous flood waters are responding. This paper is being researched by the means of a questionnaire survey intended to draw out particular responses about a range of related issues concerning the levels of understanding within these businesses about the nature of the floods that affected them, their views about possible future events and their plans, if any, to ensure business continuity. Finally the survey explores issues relating to where the responsibility falls for the protection of these businesses in the opinion of the business owners and managers.

If you are a retailer who has been affected by flooding and would be willing to complete a short online questionnaire about the event please contact us.

Further research is planned and initial work is being undertaken to draw on existing research that has been developed intermittently over the past one hundred years about the spatial relationships between places that may affect retail trade. This is pertinent now because of the number of assertions that have been made by various organisations on both sides of the debates about the apparent demise of SME retailers and the impacts that that implies on local economies and communities. These assertions are often based on extrapolations of localised research and opinion as expressed by organisations arguing from particular and often polarised perspectives. It is important that policy is based on more firmly established ground and that opinion is tested against empirically derived evidence. There are growing signs that many traditional shopping places are suffering serious decline and that this decline is impacting on social as well as economic aspects of the locality. What is less clear, but is nonetheless heavily speculated upon, are the actual causes of the decline.

Yet more research is planned and being initiated on the power of influence in matters of policy and planning decisions in town centres.

Completed and PUBLISHED research

Recent research activity has included reviewing some less obvious effects upon SME retailers in a major retail town which has developed an otherwise successful regional shopping centre within its centre. This collaborative research was published in July 2009 in the Journal of Place Management and Development. Current issue and full text article available here.