Research boost for Scots c-stores

Pete Cheema

The Scottish Grocers Federation has announced a major step forward in ensuring it has a strong evidence and research base to increase the effectiveness of its lobbying and political engagement activities.

In partnership with the Retail Studies Institute at Stirling University, SGF has secured a three-year PhD studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council which will focus exclusively on the independent convenience store sector in Scotland.

Working with retail expert Professor Leigh Sparks, SGF will develop the research agenda for the student. A major focus for this is likely to be building on the preliminary work SGF and Professor Sparks have undertaken on the ’local multiplier effect’ – the contribution convenience stores make to the local economy.

SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema (pictured) said: “This is another indicator of the change agenda being driven forward at SGF. This is a major – and completely new – step forward for us in ensuring we have a robust evidence base to inform our work. We recently launched the first ever Scottish Local Shop Report and the overwhelmingly positive response to this has shown how important it is to have Scottish-specific data.”

Professor Sparks added: “I am delighted to be working with the Scottish Grocers Federation and its members in this ESRC collaborative PhD project. There has been a long standing view that local stores provide more benefits for the local economy and community due to their business practices which are more embedded in the local ‘space’. However, evidence has been largely anecdotal and not subject to rigorous systematic academic approaches and analysis. Rectifying this is the first objective of this PhD.”

Full details of the research project will be announced at SGF’s Success in Scotland Summit on 17th March.