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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Professor Neil Wrigley FBA, FAcSS, DSc

Emeritus Professor of Geography

Professor Neil Wrigley's photo

Professor Neil Wrigley is Professor of Human Geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

Neil Wrigley has been Professor of Geography at the University of Southampton since 1991, serving as Head of Department 1992-95 and 1999-2001. He is the first Geographer in the history of the University of Southampton to have been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA). He has been Editor of the Journal of Economic Geography (Oxford University Press) since its launch in 2001, steering that journal into its current world top three ranked position. Previously (1988-93) he was Editor of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Prior to his appointment at Southampton he was Professor and Head of the Department of City & Regional Planning, University of Wales, Cardiff (1986-91), Reader in Geography at the University of Bristol, and a member of the Research Resources & Methods Committee of the UK Economic & Social Research Council (1984-91). He was elected Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (2003) and, amongst several prizes he has received, was most recently awarded the Ashby Prize 2004 by the leading international urban and regional research journal Environment & Planning A, and the Murchison Award 2008 by the Royal Geographical Society. In 2012 was elected to the distinguished Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA).

He is a member of the Editorial Board of many journals across the wider social sciences including Environment and Planning A, Regional Studies, 21st Century Society:Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a number of business studies/management journals.

Author of 140 academic journal papers and several well-known books (including Reading Retail: A Geographical Perspective on Retailing and Consumption Spaces, 2002, Arnold: London; Oxford Univ. Press, New York, with Michelle Lowe), his research focuses on economic geography – with a distinctive focus on retail and consumption. He has written many widely cited papers on the restructuring, regulation and globalization of the retail industry, including issues of retail development and finance, e-commerce, the rise of transnational retail corporations, and retailer-driven global supply chains.

Since 2000 his research on the geography of retail and consumption has focused on three themes.

Earlier in his career – not least via his role on ESRC’s Research & Methods Committee and as Chair of ESRC’s 1991 Census Committee - Professor Wrigley made significant contributions to quantitative social science. In particular has contributions on categorical data analysis, discrete choice modelling, longitudinal/panel data analysis, modifiable areal unit and census data analysis are well-known – with his classic book Categorical Data Analysis (Longman, 1985) from that period being republished (2002) in the USA as a landmark text in quantitative social science.

Professor Wrigley has held ESRC and Leverhulme Research Fellowships, an Erskine Fellowship (New Zealand), and was Senior Research Fellow, St Peter's College, Oxford (1996-97). He has held visiting positions at many overseas universities including: University of Boston, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Toronto, George Mason University, Karlsruhe University (Germany), Macquarie University (Australia), University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and has presented distinguished/keynote lectures in more than 40 universities in North America, East Asia, Australia and continental Europe. In 2007 he was invited by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa to give one of its Distinguished Scholar Lectures. He was also invited in 2010 and 2014 to present for the OECD in Paris after being commissioned to write their report on the Globalisation of Retail Services.


B.A. (Geography) Wales

Ph.D. (Geography) Cambridge

D.Sc. (Geography) Bristol

FBA Fellow of the British Academy

AcSS Academician, Academy of Social Sciences

FRGS Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

MCIT Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport

1991 - present University of Southampton, Professor of Geography (Head of Dept 1992-95, Head of Dept 1999-2001)
1986 - 1991 University of Wales, Cardiff, Professor of City and Regional Planning (Head of Dept 1989-91)
1976 - 1986 University of Bristol, Lecturer then Reader in Geography

Key Positions within discipline
1973 - 1976 University of Southampton, Lecturer in Geography
Editor, Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford Univ Press (2000-present)
Editor, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (1988-93)
Senior Research Fellow, St Peter's College, University of Oxford (1996-97)
Committee member UK Economic and Social Research Council 1984-91
Member Editorial Boards of 5 other leading journals (including Environment and Planning A; Society: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences; International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

Research interests

  • Retail restructuring and regulation
  • Globalization of retail capital
  • Transnational retail and buyer driven supply chains in the global economy

Finance, the firm, and economic geography

Research projects

  • ESRC Research Award 2012-Present to conduct research on 'The Future of UK High Streets'
  • ESRC Research Award 2013-Present to conduct research on 'Scoping the Portas Pilots'
  • Tesco plc Research Award 2007-2009 to conduct research on 'Revisiting the Impacts of Large Foodstore Development on Market Towns and District Centres'
  • ESRC Research Award 2007-2009 (with Dr Alex Hughes, Univ. of Newcastle) to develop a strategic research agenda on "Retailers and Corporate Social Responsibility"
  • Tesco plc Research Award 2007-2008 (with GeoData Institute, Univ. of Southampton) to conduct research on the "Entry and exit of small and specialist stores in British high streets"
  • ESRC Research Award 2005-2007 (with Dr. Alex Hughes, Univ. of Newcastle) to conduct research on 'Organising Ethical Trade a UK-USA Comparison'
  • Tesco plc Research Award 2005 to conduct research on 'Consumer Responses to Supply Chain Transformation in the UK Convenience Store Sector'
  • ESRC, Research Award 2001-2003 to conduct research on 'Globalizing Retail and the Challenge of E-Commerce'
  • ESRC, Research Award 2000-2004 to conduct research on 'Food Deserts in British Cities' (co-funded by industrial partner J.Sainsbury plc)
  • Leverhulme Trust Research Award 1997-1999: to conduct research on 'The Post-LBO Reconfiguration of US Food Retailing'
  • ESRC Research Fellowship, 1996-97 awarded under ESRC Nation's Diet Research Programme to conduct research on 'Changing Conditions of Competition and Regulation in UK Food Retailing'

Research group

Economy, Society and Governance

Professor Neil Wrigley
University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ


Tel: +44(0)23 8059 2215

Room Number : 44/2076

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