Retail Logistics in the UK: Past, Present and Future (Fernie et al)

This article illustrates an examination of the retail logistics transformation witnessed across the British retailing sector since 1980 and a detailed discussion of likely challenges to face most retail logistics personnel in the future. In addition, the article sheds light on vital logistics concepts and their application, prior to a specific dealing with changes implemented in the grocery and fashion supply chains. In particular, it presents the transformation of retailers from passive recipients of products to assuming the controlling, organizing and managing the supply chains from the production to consumption levels (Fernie, Sparks, & McKinnon, 2010).

The first section of the reveals appraisal of distinct contributions undertaken in the previous research on retail logistics in the previous decades. It assumes a clear contemplation in its presentation of the key trends identified as reinforcing the transformation. Key among the spotted contributions include application of quick responses to initiate a speedy flow of products, rationalization of networks, assumption of reverse operations, control over the secondary distributions, alongside the efficient consumer response (Fernie, Sparks, & McKinnon, 2010). The evaluative perspective in this section helps in filling the void arising in the literature, which overly rested on examining supply chains in the industrial market.

Furthermore, the authors approach marks the breakthrough of information by utilizing a detailed theoretical background comprising value chain, network and resource based aspects. This enables the authors incorporate the time-based competition frank, often overlooked in examining supply chains in fashion markets. For instance, it takes note of the essential features of the fashion sector, including short-lived cycles, high volatility, low predictability and the higher levels of impulse purchasing (Fernie, Sparks, & McKinnon, 2010).

The meticulous analysis allows them to present the distinctive transformation characterizing the UK grocery logistics where retailers have assumed control over the supply chain and marketing responsibilities. A complete evaluation of the present challenges surrounding the retail logistics is offered in the final section, upon transparency, efficiency, sustainability. This enables the article shift from the e-tail logistics challenges comprising over-optimistic forecasting in e-commerce as accepted internet retailing amongst the consumers and minimal utilization of space in forward a reverse distribution channel (Fernie, Sparks, & McKinnon, 2010).

The inclusion of macro-environment issues comprising climate change, food security and recession, presents a basis for future evaluation of attaining flexibility and efficiency through e-fulfilment and RFID technologies in a turbulent environment.



  • Fernie, J., Sparks, L., & McKinnon, A. C. (2010). Retail Logistics in the UK: Past, Present and Future. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38(11/12), 894-914.
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