Vanessa Dehullu demonstrating the CitiApp at NRRKEC event 15 July 2016

First Annual NRRKEC Retail Seminar takes place in London – 15 July 2016

The first annual National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre (NRRKEC) Retail Seminar took place on Friday 15th July at the Digital Catapult Centre, 101 Euston Road London.

The event was attended by thirty invited key stakeholders from across the UK retail sector, including retail academics from 11 universities, as well as retail organisations, government agencies and commercial retail consultancies. It marked the formal launch of this exciting new initiative which has been set up with the support of Nottingham Trent University and is based at Nottingham Business School.

The aim of NRRKEC is to enhance the impact of academic research on retailing. The main output of the Centre will be an annual UK retail academic research directory which captures and translates relevant retail-related academic research into a digestible format for both retail practitioners and policy makers. The centre will also host an annual symposium to share findings and generate new research agendas. Membership is open to all those interested in accessing academic research which is relevant to retailing.

Professor Kim Cassidy leads the new Centre as its Academic Director and Bill Grimsey is the Retail Director with Nelson Blackley as Senior Research Associate.

The theme for this initial seminar was the impact of research on the Future of the High Street and included several expert presentations around this important topic.

James Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and his team led the morning’s keynote session. James outlined findings of recent research relevant to his role as part of the UK Government’s Future High Street Forum.

Bill Grimsey then co-presented a fascinating case study about the city Roeselare in Belgium with Vanessa Dehullu, the Lead of Roeselare’s Economic Development team. The team at Roeselare have successfully implemented many of the recommendations of the 2013 Grimsey Review and as a result transformed the town centre and retail offering.

Finally, Professor Cathy Parker, who leads the Centre for Retail, Place and Consumer Change at Manchester Metropolitan University, presented the findings from her recent ESRC-funded “High Street 2020” project.

The seminar also included two very productive interactive sessions when the delegates discussed the future research priorities for the High Street, as well as helping identify any barriers to this research.

This first annual NRRKEC Retail Seminar was judged to be a very successful event by all those involved (please see a selection of quotes from some of our key stakeholders below and it’s hoped that a second Annual Seminar will take place on Friday 14 July 2017 at the same venue.


“There’s a long and distinguished history of retail research in UK universities. Too often, however, the kind of research needed by practitioners and policymakers fails to see the light of day, or simply doesn’t connect with retailers. The launch of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, at Nottingham Trent University, marks the first serious attempt to co-ordinate and communicate the best in UK retail research. The initiative, led by Professor Kim Cassidy and her team, is particularly timely, given the challenges faced by the sector as it undergoes real transformation.”

Professor Jonathan Reynolds
Oxford Institute of Retail Management
Said Business School, University of Oxford.


“This new research centre, led by Nottingham Business School’s Professor Kim Cassidy, is a vital initiative needed to ensure pioneering research helps drive change across retail in the UK, and that retail keeps up with the smart cities agenda and adapts to continuous technological change, which shows no sign of slowing down,”

Bill Grimsey
Author “The Grimsey Review – An Alternative Future for the High Street”


“The UK is well known internationally for its high quality, practical retail research – so the launch of this new centre is a very important development. I have no doubt the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre will help the productivity and competitiveness of retailers, both big and small.”

Professor Cathy Parker
Chair of Institute of Place Management
Manchester Metropolitan University


“I was delighted to be at the launch of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre. We have already done some work with the centre on mapping research that’s relevant to the High Street. It’s a part of a work stream for the Government’s High Street Future Forum which I hope will direct local High Street Partnerships throughout the country”

James Lowman
Chief Executive
Association of Convenience Stores


“The launch and first annual seminar of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, which based at Nottingham Business School (Nottingham Trent University) was an extremely positive event with the enthusiastic involvement of key stakeholders from Universities, Government Departments and Retail Organisations. It clearly highlighted the opportunities and benefits to the UK retail sector the work of this new centre looks to provide”

Malcolm Sullivan
Head of Marketing Division
Nottingham Business School