Stirling academic Professor Leigh Sparks named top retail influencer

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Professor Leigh Sparks
Professor Leigh Sparks is a regular go-to for media and expert comment on the retail industry.

University of Stirling academic Professor Leigh Sparks, an international expert in retail, has been named a top influencer in his field.

Professor Sparks, Deputy Principal and Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, joins retail business luminaries such as Mary Portas and Martin Newman in an announcement by Retail Tech Innovation Hub (RTIH).

The Top 100 Retail Technology Influencers List features “people who made a splash in 2022 and are set for a barnstorming 2023”.

Professor Sparks, a graduate of the University of Cambridge and the University of Wales, has been Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling since 1992. A prolific author, writer and blogger, he has authored and co-authored more than 200 academic and professional articles and helped generate substantial research funding for the University of Stirling.

A regular go-to for media and expert comment, Professor Sparks has sat on several editorial boards and government policy and strategy groups and is currently Chair of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership. He was recently made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Sparks said: “I feel privileged to be included with such illustrious people in RTIH’s list of the most influential figures in retail technology. Retail and retail technology are two of the most fascinating and fast-moving sectors in business and will form a major part of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. I’m proud that, through our research work, the University of Stirling is a major contributor to the international conversation around retail.”

In announcing its expert hit list, RTIH editor and founder Scott Thompson said: “We’re living in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 outbreak has driven a seismic change in shopping habits, with checkout free stores, automation in the supply chain, rapid delivery services, and the metaverse making waves.  Such disruption requires new ways of problem solving and thought leaders who can both evangelise and execute on the likes of digital transformation and omnichannel success.”

The RTIH uses a variety of sources to select the top 100, including feedback from industry observers, research within its own networks, direct or third-party nominations via its website, and social media tools. It also takes into account award winners, event speakers, books published, media appearances, and people building innovative companies and solutions in the retail space.