Jonathan Reynolds is Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management (OXIRM), Associate Professor in Retail Marketing and Deputy Dean at Saïd Business School. He is also Deputy Director of the ESRC’s Consumer Data Research Centre. Jonathan is one of the leading academic experts in the study of the retail sector internationally.
Jonathan’s teaching and research focus primarily on the retail sector. He is particularly recognised for his scholarship and expertise in the areas of electronic commerce and omni-channel retailing, innovation and entrepreneurship in retailing, retail productivity and skills, and the role of place in marketing and retailing.
His views are sought after by businesses, policy makers and the media. He is heavily committed to knowledge exchanger, actively seeking to ensure that his research can be widely disseminated amongst policy-makers and practitioners. While his academic expertise lies in marketing and geography, Jonathan’s research activities have also extended into science and technology studies and strategic management.
He is a founding member of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, and has been its Academic Director since 1999. The Institute undertakes a range of both commissioned and public domain research with direct relevance to practitioners, but which is nevertheless grounded within rigorous academic scholarship.
Jonathan read geography as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, and then took an MA in Environmental Planning at the University of Nottingham, and a PhD at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He returned to Oxford in 1985 to work on research for the British retailer Tesco on the application of new forms of technology and e-commerce, following a post at the University of Edinburgh as founding Research Fellow for the Coca-Cola Retail Research Foundation. He has also been Visiting Professor at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
He is a Governing Body Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford.
Jonathan’s research focuses primarily on the retail sector, and he is recognised internationally for his expertise in the areas of electronic commerce and omni-channel retailing, innovation & entrepreneurship in retailing, retail productivity and skills, and the role of place in marketing and retail management – in particular, the consequences for retail development and planning. He is presently Deputy Director of the ESRC-funded Consumer Data Research Centre, a £7.9m initiative run jointly by the Universities of Oxford, Liverpool, Leeds and UCL to create a service that will open up the data resources routinely collected by the retail business sector to academic research, training and capacity building. He has also been Associate Director of the ESRC-funded Retail Industry Business Engagement Cluster (RIBEN), a £1.4m collaboration between Oxford, Southampton, Leeds and Surrey Universities.
Jonathan leads the Institute’s work on electronic & omnichannel -commerce, which has been widely published and cited. Oxford's examination of trends in teleshopping in the late 1980s and early 1990s, funded by Coopers & Lybrand and the launch of a practitioner consortium (which included Tesco and BP), pre-dated contemporary concern over e-commerce by ten years. Jonathan’s work continues in evaluating the channel strategies of retail firms, examining the multichannel behaviours of consumers, and in getting beyond the rhetoric attached to the use of social media in retailing.
As a geographer, Jonathan has a keen interest in the spatial aspects of retailing. Examples of recent research include a Knowledge Exchange Opportunities project with the Local Data Company into the changing patterns of Britain’s high streets; and a collaborated with Steve Wood, Professor of Retail Marketing and Management at the University of Surrey on the nature of retail location decision-making, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. He is presently working with colleagues at the University of Liverpool on new analyses and classification of retailing and service activity occurring in UK urban places.
Jonathan leads the Institute’s research on scenarios for retail innovation, growth and development, which originally formed part of the British Government’s work on technology foresight during the late 1990s and again in 2005. His work for NESTA on innovation in retailing in 2007-08 - as part of the Government’s Innovation in Services initiative - sought new conceptualisations, measurement approaches and analyses of the nature of innovation within the sector. In addition, he completed a study for the British Council of Shopping Centres on the Future of Retail Business Formats, which has significantly affected property firm investment strategies. He was part of the team partnering BI-School of Management, Oslo and the University of Berkeley in a NOK20mn (£2m) international collaborative project addressing value-driven service innovation, funded by the Research Council of Norway. Most recently, he has been chairman of a European Commission Expert Group on Retail Innovation & Competitiveness, and continues to support the trade bodies Eurocommerce and the British Retail Consortium in their championing of the sector to government. He has published, with Richard Cuthbertson, a study for Eurocommerce on Understanding the role of retailing and wholesaling within the European Union.
Finally, Jonathan leads the Institute’s work on retail productivity and skills, originally funded by the Department of Trade & Industry’s Retail Practitioner Group in 2003-04. This challenges preconceptions about the nature of, and reasons, for apparent productivity gaps between retailing in the UK, the US and France and contributed to a better understanding of the basis of international competitiveness. The work has been extended at the request of governments and commentators in France and Spain in 2007-8 and he is an active member of the ESRC/CNRS seminar programme in productivity and globalisation, with the Universities of Rennes and Stirling. This research was recently updated to reflect the impact of the recession, of the Internet and of international retailing on productivity and skills within the sector, funded by the British retail sector skills body, Skillsmart Retail, now People 1st.
The nature of retailing means that it is critical to Jonathan’s research that he remains in close contact with current retail practice and works to anticipate future developments within the industry. He is actively engaged with both retail practitioners and with policymakers interested in retail matters both in the UK and internationally.
Much of his research is conducted in association with retailers and industry bodies or draws upon their data and experience. Recent research partners include: the British Retail Consortium, Eurocommerce and the Association of Convenience Stores.
Jonathan’s advice is also sought by government and industry bodies. He has recently been involved in the following projects:
Advising the European wholesale and retail trade organisation Eurocommerce
He is also a frequent speaker at retail industry gatherings, including recently:
Future High Street Summit 2016, Nottingham.
with Nick Everitt, ‘The Retail Business Model of the Future’, keynote paper at the World Retail Congress, Rome, September 2015.
‘Innovation and the Future of Shopping Centres’, paper presented at Italian Council of Shopping Centres, Milan, June 2015.
Independent Retailing Europe Conference, (2014), London, Keynote paper ‘Innovation & Change in Small Format Proximity Retailing’.
Jonathan is a skilled and experienced media communicator, and regularly contributes his insights on retail and consumer matters to the media including the BBC, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Times, Business Week and The Wall Street Journal.
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 speaks frequently at academic conferences on retailing internationally. Selected academic conference contributions include:
Jonathan teaches an elective in Retailing on the MBA programme, and provides Marketing lectures and tutorials on the School’s BA in Economics and Management. He also acts as a supervisor for Entrepreneurship Projects on the MBA programme each year, and contributes to Saïd Business School’s Executive Education portfolio. He supervises students undertaking the DPhil in Management Studies.
Central to his style of teaching is the bringing together of theory and practice, often by inviting practitioner guests. Jonathan is also a keen user of social media to support his teaching, particularly for undergraduates on the BA in Economics and Management, and he regularly updates a blog for the students as well as maintaining a topical Twitter feed reflecting on retail issues.
The MBA elective in retailing is jointly taught with a senior practitioner and regularly attracts a significant proportion of the MBA class.
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street