Impact Story

Transforming retail from the inside

The retail industry drives the global economic machine. With global sales of around US $26.4 trillion in 2021, climbing to around $32.8 trillion by 2026 (1), the numbers the retail industry generates are indicators of regional, national and global economic performance. The sector is also one of the world’s most prevalent sources of employment.

But it’s not the same retail our parents experienced. Today’s retail transformation is driven by a digitalised consumer culture in an ever-faster world. Complex global logistics networks. Shifting social forces and public interaction with everything from transaction experiences to current events. And the imperative to secure continual economic growth while also guiding the sector towards better sustainability practice.

With the complexity of these issues only growing, retail requires ongoing research into the factors impacting its business concepts and strategies—everything from social attitudes to global supply management. And today’s professionals need to be equipped not only for the constantly changing retailscape they’re helping define, but for the one we will all become part of. The business, government and academia investment in retail needs to be commensurate with its importance.

Training for a new generation of retail 

Helsingborg has historically been a crossroads for trade through Northern Europe, and today the region is a hotbed for international retail activity, research and innovation. With development of the Helsingborg Innovation District (HID), the region’s importance in logistics and e-commerce will only continue to grow. And as an EU “Mission City”, Helsingborg’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2030 adds a layer of social and environmental ambition that is relevant to the advance of the retail industry as a whole.

Lund University’s existing Campus Helsingborg is one of the hubs HID is being developed around. Since 2000, the university has offered Bachelor and Masters programmes, and conducted research and collaboration, in retail and logistics. Now its role as a primary national source for research in logistics, consumption and e-commerce, and global top 10 researcher in retail, makes it even more of a cross-collaboration asset for the region’s partners, actors and academic community.

In support of one of HID’s key strengths, Lund University and Helsingborg City are investing in the development of REAL—the Centre for Retail and Logistics. Once operational in its own premises, the centre will host all current programmes and retail and logistics initiatives, support doctoral research, and include a retail logistics lab and think tank. It will be managed through its own advisory board.

Local action with global reach

With REAL, Lund University is launching an attractive international environment for conducting leading retail and logistics research. Local actors will have simple access to world-class research resources that can potentially impact their business and community development decisions, and help them anticipate and manage the continually shifting global retailscape.

The industry will also continue to benefit from the ongoing graduation of professionals trained for the challenges of modern retail. These include the education and competence to manage and advance sustainable trade and logistics. And development of the positive competitiveness that strengthens business and society.

Most importantly, REAL will become a centralised go-to resource for transformative global impact innovation development in collaboration with the local business and public sectors. Building on the continuity and success of one of the world’s leading universities and research programmes. And guiding the way forward for the dynamic, relevant and responsible retail industry of the future.

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