Redefining Convenience: Retail, Leisure and Real Estate Perspectives, 28th Sept 2015, London

Society of Property Researchers logoThis is a joint SLA/SPR event
Date: 28th September 2015
Venue: Savills, 33 Margaret Street, London, W1G 0JD
Nearest tube stations: Oxford Circus or Bond Street.
Time: 6 with a 6.30pm start

You can download the presentations here.


Whenever we discuss convenience retailing, it has tended to be with a sole focus on the grocery sector. But other retail and leisure sectors too are increasingly preoccupied with providing a ‘convenient’ offer to the consumer. In this joint event between SLA and the Society of Property Researchers, we explore the drivers of shopper convenience and the ways in which non-food retailers and shopping centres are seeking to make themselves more convenient to their users.

The evolution of shopping patterns is having a significant impact on many retail locations, particularly our high streets. However, while the initial impact has been a shrinking of many high streets it would appear that in some cases an increasing need for ‘convenience’ could mean a change in the role and importance of all kinds of retail locations. This seminar will provide views on the demographic and economic drivers, what now constitutes convenience for the shopper (it’s not just about convenience supermarkets!) and what this means for UK High Streets and other retail locations. After the presentations, there will be the opportunity for the audience to ask questions during a panel discussion. There will an opportunity for networking & drinks after the seminar.


6pm – Registration opens
6.30pm – Welcome and Introduction – Jonathan Reynolds
6.40pm – Tom Whittington
7pm – Alex McCulloch
7.20 – Closing remarks from Jonathan and award of undergraduate certificates
7.30 – Network drinks


  • Chair: Jonathan Reynolds, Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management (OXIRM)
  • Tom Whittington, Director – Retail Research, Savills
  • Alex McCulloch, Associate Partner at CACI

More details to follow with speakers biographies and synopsis of each session.

To reserve your place please email info@thesla.org


Tom Whittington, Director – Retail Research, Savills

Small portfolios
It was said during the recession that retailers needed just 80 stores to have national representation.
In reality there are few retailers that have culled their portfolios so dramatically.

Death of the High Street?
Many national retailers still require several hundred stores, and this inevitably means they will be in secondary high streets..

Redefining Retail Space
What is the high street for anyway?
Reclassification of space and what its purpose really is.

The Convenience Trip
Grocery and value retailers have led the way, but convenience no longer refers to just food.
The main thing is giving consumers something locally things that they need regularly and allowing specialist trips to be serviced elsewhere.

Speaker biographies

Tom Whittington, Director – Retail Research, Savills
Tom Whittington, SavillsTom Whittington is Director of Retail Research at Savills. Following degrees in Liverpool and Edinburgh Tom started at Savills in 2001 to set up a GIS and spatial analysis capability. Key projects had included analysing retirement property markets and undertaking various shopping centre development projects in UK, Italy and Greece. In 2007, spotting a niche requirement he began to focus specifically on retail and developed a national retail research consultancy expertise at Savills.

Tom’s specialism’s include store location strategies, catchment and performance modelling, town profiling and shopping centre investment. His analysis has clear implications on development value, store acquisition/disposal, asset management and letting. Through his development of retail performance models and predictive analytics he has assisted retailers with portfolio strategies, landlords with tenant rent reviews, developers and investors with ‘scenario’ testing scheme potential and planners with retail impact assessments.

Clients include Costa, White Stuff, Fraser Hart, „Sofaworks, Paul, ITSU, Metro Bank, Hotter Shoes, Boundary Mill, Pagazzi Lighting and The Restaurant Group, as well as a large number of landlord clients.

When not in his day job Tom is an enthusiastic mid-pack fell runner who likes nothing better than spending days on end tramping through the damp and chilly Cumbrian mountains, dreaming about being in the pub.

Alex McCulloch, Principle Consultant, CACIAlex McCulloch of CACI

Alex has worked in location planning for over 10 years working on all sides of the Developer / Landlord / Retailer relationship. Throughout this work the primary focus is on understanding the consumer shopping dynamic.

Consumers – Working with primary research data such as consumer surveys and macro data such as expenditure estimates and geodemographic systems such as Acorn Alex has built up a wealth of experience in understanding how consumers behave. In the last few years Alex has overseen the collection and analysis of in excess of 300,000 consumer surveys, providing thought leadership and strategic guidance.

Catchment – A cornerstone of CACI’s approach is understanding the relationship between people and place and Alex has significant experience at building gravity models to predict consumer behaviour and centre catchments in countries as diverse as Oman, Russia, Republic of Korea and the UK. This work involves understanding how, why and where people choose to shop.

Centre – Working with property companies such as British Land, Land Securities and Cushman and Wakefield as well as retailers as diverse as adidas, Greggs and John Lewis Alex has significant experience in turnover forecasting, tenant mix analysis, footfall prediction, headroom analysis and segmentations.

Professional Skills – As the technical lead for the UK delivery team Alex has significant experience in project managing large-scale multi-centre projects and people. In addition Alex regularly contributes to press such as Property Week Estates Gazette, Shopping Centre and is the lead on the Property Consulting Groups PR and media work.

Recent achievements include presenting at the ICSC European Outlet Conference, on Retail Location Analysis at the Said Business School Oxford, authorship of the Shopper Dimensions white paper and presenting at CACI’s Retail Dimensions briefing.

To reserve your place please email info@thesla.org