Retail logistics in the UK: Past, present and future

John Fernie, Leigh Sparks, Alan C. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the logistical transformation of British retailing over the last three decades and to discuss likely challenges that face logistics managers in the future. Design/methodology/approach: Reviews the key works on retail logistics, including the research undertaken by the authors over the last 20 years. Findings: Illustrates how retailers have control of the supply chain in the UK, drawing upon examples from both the grocery and fashion sectors. Challenges for the future include macro-environment issues such as climate change and recession in addition to improvements in existing in operations with regard to e-fulfilment and implementation of technologies such as RFID. Originality/value: This paper provides one of the few contributions to appraise the research undertaken on retail logistics in the UK over the last 20-30 years. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-914
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Distribution management
  • Research work
  • Retailing
  • Sustainability
  • United Kingdom


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