Dr Jonathan Elms, Massey University’s new appointee to the Sir Stephen Tindall Chair in Retail Management celebrates the launch of Massey’s new retail management degree with The Warehouse Group chief executive Mark Powell.

British retail expert first to hold Sir Stephen Tindall chair

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Massey University has recruited a British retailing and consumer behaviour expert to lead its new retail degree programme. Associate Professor Jonathan Elms will be the first academic to hold the Sir Stephen Tindall Chair in Retail Management, which is funded by The Warehouse Group.

The Bachelor of Business and Retail Management, New Zealand’s first degree focused solely on the retail sector, will open for enrolments on October 1 after gaining approval from the Committee on University Academic Programmes last month.

Dr Elms is currently based at the University of Stirling’s Institute for Retail Studies and directs its retail degree in the United Kingdom and Singapore. He says he is excited by his move to New Zealand and the prospect of leading an innovative and industry-relevant programme.

“Massey’s Bachelor of Retail and Business Management is unique and a significant achievement: a robust, theoretically underpinned academic degree with a strong practical focus,” he says.

“Developed in partnership with some of New Zealand’s best-known and respected retailers, the programme will prepare graduates to be effective retail managers and future leaders who are critical thinkers and problem solvers.”

The Warehouse Group Chief Executive Mark Powell says retail makes a very rewarding and fulfilling career and that the new degree provides structure and framework to succeed in a challenging and complex industry that demands skills ranging from logistics and management to IT and marketing. 

“To coincide with the launch of the Bachelor of Business and Retail Management degree, we have announced a scholarship programme to support our team members to further develop their careers in retail. In 2015 we will offer fully funded study scholarships to a significant number of TW Group team members. Massey University’s ability to offer distance learning means that team members based at stores and sites anywhere in New Zealand can participate,” says Mr Powell.

Dr Elms will bring an international perspective to the issues faced by New Zealand retailers and says his teaching and research priorities will focus on the key trends of innovation and sustainability.

“Retailers need to constantly innovate to ensure their offer remains competitive and attracts new and loyal customers. New customer touch points, store formats and technologies mean the retail landscape is constantly changing. Retailers need to keep up with those changes and be able to adapt fast,” Dr Elms says.

“Retail is New Zealand’s second largest employment sector but to professionalise and raise its appeal as a desirable and rewarding career choice, retailers must be seen as good, ethical employers who also adopt sustainable practices across all their activities.” 

TW Group has undergone significant reshaping in the last two years as it seeks to innovate and modernise in the face of a fast evolving retail landscape, with a particular focus on multichannel retailing enabling customers to shop anywhere, any way.

Mr Powell says key changes taking place include the rise of digital marketing and emerging new shopping habits of customers in the online space. “Everybody’s got a smartphone so marketing is changing, connection and interaction with the customer is changing and being truly multichannel is important.”

To discuss the trends shaping the future of the retail sector, Massey University’s College of Business will hold an interactive panel discussion – ‘The new frontiers of retail: Developing the capacity to survive and thrive’ – featuring both Dr Elms and The Warehouse Group Chief Executive Mark Powell.

Event details: The new frontiers of retail panel discussion

Date: Wednesday 27 August

Time: Drinks and networking from 6pm; Panel discussion starts at 6.30pm.

Venue: Student Central Lounge, Massey University Albany campus

Register at: https://masseyuni.wufoo.com/forms/the-new-frontiers-of-retail/   

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