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Welcome to the Centre for Retail Research Website.

The Centre for Retail Research provides authoritative and expert research and analysis of the retail and service sectors in Britain, Europe and globally.

The Centre, originally a hgher-education research group, has been independent since 1997. Its Director is Professor Joshua Bamfield. It is totally independent and is not connected to any outside organisation or interest group.

Our work is based on
- understanding retail and consumer trends for our client
- analysing the main drivers of retail change
- making accurate forecasts.

Many of our key areas of interest can be seen in the menu column to the right of this page. They include

  • Retail Forecasts: consumer spending; Christmas and seasonal spending forecasts; the future pattern of stores; payment systems; ethical retailing and green retailing; retail failures.
  • e-Commerce trends: the growth of online (e-commerce) and multi-channel retailing
  • Economics of Retailing: trends in costs, productivity, and output for different retail sectors. Specialist economic forecasts for retail/service sector.
  • Crime and Fraud: Our research into retail crime and fraud acts as a benchmark for retail corporations worldwide. CRR's best-known report is the Global Retail Theft Barometer, which celebrates its tenth birthday in 2010 and covers 43 countries.

Much of our work is confidential to our clients, which include large retail businesses, trade associations, suppliers and government bodies.

The Centre's research is widely quoted
The Centre's research and views are quoted widely. Radio and TV stations include: the BBC's Today Programme, BBC 24, CNN, Sky News, Channel 4 News, ITV, BBC News, Sky and TV stations in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Germany. Our reports are carried by major newspapers including The Times, Financial Times, The Economist, Time Magazine, Daily Mail, The Sun, Frankfurter Allgemeine, The Financial Daily/ Financieele Dagblad (Amsterdam), Täglicher Marktbe (Germany), Expansion (Spain), The Irish Independent, Irish Post, the Times of India, Washington Times, and International Herald Tribune.

About Us

The Centre is not an apologist for the retail industry. It is not funded by the retail sector or by suppliers. Individual reports are usually funded, but carried out independently at 'arm's length'. The sponsor has no say in how the research is conducted or knows the names of the participants.

Where a report is sponsored, we say so. If no sponsor is mentioned then the report has not been sponsored. We do not carry out reports for clients that require a particular result (ie 'this report must find X and Y, but not Z') or where we are unhappy about the organisation. A condition of our work is that we are free to produce the work in the most reasonable way, without interference.

We are naturally sympathetic to the sector, its employees, suppliers and investors. But we recognise that the sector has areas of very bad practice indeed: some small firms have grown rapidly to become large businesses still run by chancers with gigantic egos; others trade in the UK but ensure they pay little or no corporation tax here; and whilst the care of shop staff is usually pretty good these days, the conditions of several categories such as warehouse staff and delivery drivers (including self-employed) can be lamentable.

The Centre for Retail Research has been researching the transformation of the retail sector for many years, before CRR started to operate as a separate company in 1997 and so is able to draw on a long tradition of engagement with such study.

We are often asked to produce recondite pieces of work that no one else can (or indeed tries to). We do not however collect information of every aspect of retailing, so often cannot help with precise queries put to us.

We report on sectors or kinds of business, online retailers for example, and in our published reports do not comment on or promote the trade practices of particular retailers. The company has no investments, but individual company members may have investments in individual retailers. These are comparatively small and are held via managed general funds or unit trusts as part of larger portfolios: we are not responsible for buying or selling individual stakes in companies. As such they do not affect our opinions. The Centre receives no regular long-term funding from retailers, trade associations or other enterprises as this would affect its independence. The website does not allow paid advertising or advertorials (commentary for which a fee is charged).

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