I graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Geography and started my PhD at the University of Wales, before moving to Stirling with my supervisor in 1983 where I completed my PhD.
I was appointed as Lecturer in 1986, as Senior Lecturer in Marketing in 1992, and as Professor of Retail Marketing in 1998. I became Deputy Principal with specific responsibility for strategy and resources in 2007 and Senior Deputy Principal in 2011. After eight years in these senior management roles I returned to the School in 2015. I have served as Head of the former Department of Marketing on two occasions (1993-95 and 2000-2003) and as Director of the Institute for Retail Studies (1993-96 and 1999-2003).
I teach on a range of retailing and marketing courses at undergraduate and full-time postgraduate level, and co-ordinate the Retail Management Context and International Retailing modules in the MBA in Retailing by distance learning programme.
I am a visiting Professor at the Institute of Economic Research/Department of Business Administration at Lund University, Sweden and have held similar positions at the IGR-IAE, Université de Rennes 1, France, and Queens University, Canada. I am also President of the European Association for Education and Research in Commercial Distribution (an association for academics researching and teaching retailing).
I am a regular contributor to management development programmes and industry conferences on retailing in both the UK and Europe. My management development work has included contributions for Auchan, C&A, Coop Group, Delhaize, Easynet, Greggs, Hilding Anders, HOK-Elanto, Kingfisher, Makro, Tetra Pak, Vion Foods and Woolworths (Australia).
My academic and research interests lie in the field of retailing. Specific interests include the patterns and processes of retail internationalisation; the implications of international retailing for structural change; the role of branding within the internationalisation process; and failure and divestment in international retailing. This research pursued with colleagues at Stirling and in Europe has been funded by a range of commercial and public agencies including the ESRC, European Commission and the DTI.
My work on retail internationalisation initially focussed on understanding the patterns of investment and the generic processes at play. This then evolved into exploring not just investment but also divestment patterns and processes – often characterised as internationalisation failure -, and the role of store image and the retailer as a brand in the internationalisation process, based on the assumption that the brand is an important business asset and has a role to play in retail internationalisation.
My work on retail branding follows two broad themes. First, placing the retail product brand (private brands) within a strategic context, and second exploring how the retail “brand” has evolved, particularly the inter-relationships between different aspects of retail branding and the view of the retailer as a corporate\organisational brand. This latter theme is integrated into my work on retail internationalisation, specifically how and to what extent retail brands travel across cultural boundaries.
With my PhD work on structural change and comparative retailing, having involved a study of public policy actions in the French retail sector, I have maintained an interest in broad scale structural change within the retail industry. This has an international, primarily European focus, examining how and why retail markets differ in both structure and behaviours, and how change occurs over time – both at the country and the firm level.