The ESRC Riben cluster involves research groups from:
Geography and Environment, University of Southampton
Southampton Management School, University of Southampton
SAID Business School, University of Oxford
School of Geography, University of Leeds
Prof. Neil Wrigley - Director
Neil Wrigley has been Professor of Geography at the University of Southampton since 1991, serving as Head of Department 1992-95 and 1999-2001. He is also Editor of the Journal of Economic Geography (Oxford University Press) consistently ranked amongst the world’s top three journals in the discipline.
He has won many awards for his research on the retail industry, including the Royal Geographical Society’s Murchison Award (2008). In 2003 he was elected Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) and in 2012 was elected to the distinguished Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA).
Author of 150 academic journal papers and several well-known books (including Reading Retail: A Geographical Perspective on Retailing and Consumption Spaces, 2002, Arnold: London; Oxford Univ. Press, New York, with Michelle Lowe), his research focuses on economic geography – with a distinctive focus on retail and consumption. He has written many pioneering and widely cited papers on the restructuring, regulation and globalization of the retail industry, including issues of retail development and finance, e-commerce, the rise of transnational retail corporations, and retailer-driven global supply chains.
Since 2000 his research on the geography of retail and consumption has focused on three themes:
- Pioneering work on issues of food poverty, diet-related inequalities and food retail access in underserved low-income neighbourhoods in British cities. That research on so-called ‘food deserts’ (more precisely unsupportive local food environments), and the potential of retail-led urban regeneration in underserved markets is internationally acknowledged as having established an agenda for related research in many countries and has resulted in invited presentations on the public policy implications of the work to the Parliamentary Food & Health Forum at the House of Commons, the British Retail Consortium, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Cambridge-MIT Institute, and the World Economic Forum.
- Internationally recognized research on transnational retail and the global economy which has explored the rapid globalization of retail capital since the mid 1990s, the management of international investment by retail transnational corporations, the organization of those firms across institutional and national divides, the impacts of transnational retail on host economies in East Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, ethical trading initiatives, and the private-interest regulation of global supply chains by UK and US retailers. As the host economy and trade policy impacts of transnational retail have become increasingly important issues to the governments of many developing countries, this has resulted in many invitations to give keynote presentations to national and international policy bodies – e.g. recently to the Agricultural Trade Research Consortium in China, to the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, and to the Ethical Trading Initiative and Institute of Development Studies in the UK.
- Public policy oriented contributions to debates on retail access, competition and planning, including major studies of market entry and exit conditions in the small store sector in over 1,000 UK town centres and high streets; large-scale ‘before/after’ studies of the ‘impacts’ of planning-policy compliant retail development on market towns and district centres, and assessment of the role of new generation corporate convenience stores in ‘anchoring’ and sustaining the viability of small centres. Most recently, his research has focused on a forward-looking assessment of the future configurations of UK high streets, which builds on and out from the government-commissioned Portas Review.
Prof. Michelle Lowe - Deputy Director
Michelle Lowe is Professor of Strategy & Innovation and Associate Dean (Enterprise) in the Faculty of Business & Law. From 2007-10 Michelle held an EPSRC/ESRC Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Fellowship, serving as a Member of AIM's Directorate and Lead Innovation Fellow. She is also Deputy Director of the ESRC Retail Industry Business Engagement Network (RIBEN) – a cross-university, cross-disciplinary initiative involving the Universities of Southampton, Leeds and Oxford.
Michelle graduated with 1st Class Honours from the University of Birmingham and then took her PhD at the University of Cambridge (St Catharine's College). She has held academic posts as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Geography at the Universities of Reading, Birmingham and Southampton and was Professor of Management at the University of Surrey (2004-2011). She has also held visiting academic positions in New Zealand and Canada. In 2012 Michelle was elected Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) in recognition of her contribution to the Social Sciences.
Dr Jonathan Reynolds - Associate Director
Jonathan Reynolds is Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and a Fellow in Retail Marketing at Green Templeton College. He first joined Oxford to work with UK food retailer Tesco on the application of new forms of ICT and e-commerce, following time spent at the University of Edinburgh, with Coca-Cola, and at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He has spent time as Visiting Professor at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
A geographer, urban planner and retailer by turn, he now teaches and researches in the areas of retailing and technology, retail and services marketing, retail innovation and retail planning and development. He has published and spoken widely on all these subjects. He is a member of the editorial boards of the International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research and the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management. He is Editor of the Journal of Targeting, Measurement & Analysis for Marketing.
Jonathan regularly features on television and radio news and consumer affairs programmes. As Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, established in 1985, he is actively involved with Oxford's commercial clients in the retail, financial and leisure services sectors and, as a faculty member of SBS, teaches marketing and retailing on Oxford's undergraduate, MBA and executive education programmes.
Prof Martin Clarke - Associate Director
Martin Clarke is Professor of Geographic Modelling in the School. From 1990 to 2004 he was Chief Executive of GMAP Ltd, one of the most successful university spin out companies in the UK that specialised in network planning and location analysis for some of the worlds largest retail corporations including Ford, Walmart, ExxonMobil, HSBC, Tescos, HBoS and many others. Now Martin is leading a major collaborative research initiative on 'Future Cities' that is bringing together staff across the Faculty as well as collaborating with major research universities in North America, Europe and the Far East. The objective is to build on the wealth of modelling experience and attempt to build a 'SimCity' for real.
Dr Dionysia Lambiri - Engagement and Dissemination Director
Dionysia holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Reading. After working as a Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Spatial and Real Estate Economics at the University of Reading, she joined the University of Southampton in 2007 to work as a Research Associate together with Prof Neil Wrigley and Katherine Cudworth on a three year large scale before/after research project looking at the Impacts of Large Foodstores on Market Towns and District Centres. She has co-authored reports and academic papers on the vitality of small centres, focusing in particular on the role of new generation corporate convenience stores in ‘anchoring’ and sustaining town centre viability. In 2010 she became Lecturer in Economic Geography at the University of Southampton (Geography and Environment) and subsequently joined the ESRC RIBEN group in 2012. Currently, she is also working on the Future of the High Street Project, led by Neil Wrigley and Michelle Lowe.
Tom Ironside - Chief Advisor
The ESRC RIBEN Cluster welcomes Tom Ironside who recently joined RIBEN to act as the group’s main link with the retail industry and to provide the RIBEN cluster with valuable insights into key policy issues.
Tom leads the Business & Regulation team at BRC (British Retail Consortium) which covers a broad range of business cost and reputational issues including property, planning, regeneration, energy, transport, tax, business rates, crime, employment, diversity and risk and safety. The team works with retailers across the whole spectrum of membership to lobby government for improvements in the legislative and regulatory environments and in public service delivery.
Tom has been at the BRC since 2008. He has extensive previous experience in a range of different public sector policy roles, including in the postal sector in the years following market liberalisation. Tom began his career at the Local Government Commission leading reviews of local authorities' structure and electoral arrangements.