Skip to main content

Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Retail Applications

CDRC Training
Monday 15 October 2018, 9:30am - 4:30pm
Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, Level 11, Worsley Building, University of Leeds, Clarendon Way, Leeds, LS2 9NL

This one-day course provides an introduction to applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis in understanding retail sector dynamics. We focus on the visualisation and analysis of data related to retail supply (e.g. store catchments) and demand (including geodemographics) at national, regional and local scales. We consider commercial and public sector applications of retail analytics and introduce increasingly sophisticated analysis tools. These include GIS-based measures of accessibility and network analysis to determine retail service areas.

A series of fully supported hands-on practical sessions, interspersed with short lectures and group activities, provide an applied and theoretical perspective, with examples drawn from the UK but relevant in a number of international contexts. The course activities draw on CDRC data resources (where possible) and signpost users to further freely available or commercially-licensed data sources for use within their own research.

Participants will leave with a clear practical awareness of GIS and spatial analysis techniques commonly applied in retail analytics.


Course tutors

Dr Les Dolega (Geography & Planning, University of Liverpool) has interests and expertise in economic/retail geography and GIS, in particular the performance of town centres and their evolutionary trajectories. He did his PhD at Southampton University between 2009 and 2012, investigating the impact of the 2008-09 economic crisis on UK town centres and high streets. At the University of Liverpool, he has worked on the ‘e-Resilience’ project which investigated the vulnerability of British town/retail centres to the impacts of internet sales. Currently, he is working on automated delineation of town centre boundaries and a dynamic and multidimensional classification of retail and consumption spaces in the UK.

Dr Nick Hood (School of Geography, Leeds) is a Teaching and Research Fellow based in the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy (CSAP). Nick’s teaching covers a wide range of quantitative techniques, specialising in GIS and spatial statistics. He is the convener of the MSc GIS (ODL) module Principles of GIS and is active in the teaching teams on a number of other modules including the topics of Retail, Service Analysis and Planning, and Spatial Analysis.

Dr Andy Newing (School of Geography, Leeds) is a Lecturer in Retail Geography based in the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy (CSAP). Andy carries out applied high impact research in collaboration with commercial and public sector organisations. Research interests include spatial and quantitative analysis for retail location planning and analytics, consumer data analysis, health service delivery, census/neighbourhood analysis, geodemographics, household energy, transport and urban planning.


Who is this course suitable for?

This course is designed for participants who have limited prior knowledge of spatial analysis in the context of retail analytics. Participants are likely to be PhD students or researchers looking to work with spatial data related to consumers or the retail sector – whether in a commercial, public sector or policy focussed context. Skills will be taught using examples from the UK retail sector but participants will be encouraged to consider how these tools and techniques could be applied in alternative contexts. The course will signpost participants towards CDRC and freely available data resources which would enable them to extend these analysis in their subsequent work.


Course schedule (subject to minor change):

09.30 – 09.45:  Welcome, introductions and housekeeping

09.45 – 10.15:  Introductory lecture – CDRC retail data resources for retail analytics

10.15 – 11.00:  Hands on practical 1: Exploring retail demand and supply using CDRC Maps

11.00 – 11.15:  Break

11.15 – 11.30: Lecture: Intro to GIS for retail analytics

11.30 – 12.30:  Hands on practical 2: Introductory retail analysis using GIS

12.30 – 13.15:  Lunch

13.15 – 13.30: Lecture: Public sector retail analytics and measures of retail access

13.30 – 14.30: Hands on practical 3: Public sector retail analytics – measures of accessibility

14.45 – 15.00: Lecture: Introduction to network analysis

15.00 – 15.45: Hands on practical 4: Network analysis for retail analytics

15.45 – 16.15: Group activity: Determining an optimal retail network

16.15 – 16.30:  Wrap up and course evaluation



£70 (students)

£120 (academic, public and charitable sector employees)

£300 (private sector)

You can book onto this course here.


No prior knowledge is assumed, but participants will get more out of the course if they:

  • Have a basic understanding of the UK retail sector.
  • Have some familiarity with ArcGIS/ArcMap (e.g. loading shapefiles, producing choropleth maps etc.).

Suggested reading:

Chapter 8 in BALLAS, D., CLARKE, G. P., FRANKLIN, R. S. & NEWING, A. 2017. GIS and the Social Sciences: Theory and Applications, Abingdon, Routledge.

BIRKIN, M., CLARKE, G. P. & CLARKE, M. 2017. Retail location planning in an era of multi-channel growth, Abingdon, Routledge.


Please note this course is part of a pair of retail analytics training courses the CDRC is running in the 2018/19 academic year, the second of which will run in Spring 2019 (date coming soon), entitled “Spatial Modelling for Retail Analytics”delivered by Drs Newing and Hood. Each course can be taken on its own, but those who attend this course will also get a lot out of the second.