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Case Studies - Sheffield University

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the client

Sheffield University is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK research universities. The University of Sheffield Student Union (USSU) have been rated the best Students’ Union in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey for seven years running. Their students voted USSU the best Students’ Union in the UK for the fourth year running in the National Student Survey 2015 with a whopping 95% overall satisfaction. Partners in Retail have worked with USSU on a number of projects.

the challenge  

The University of Sheffield Student Union reopened their refurbished and expanded convenience store after a 12 month closure. The dedicated shop team were disappointed to be underperforming their ambitious targets. How could they re-engage with their student community and build sales and interest in the new shop?

Sheffield University retail planning
Sheffield University retail performance improvement

what we did  

We conducted an in-depth look at all aspects of the store performance, including:


  • Research on shopping habits with students and University staff 

  • Building a catchment model for the shop to assess the realistic sales potential

  • Interviewing shop staff to understand their way of operating and to build a sense of ownership with the new methods we would trial

  • Detailed financial analysis of sales performance to identify sales and profit per linear metre by range category

  • Layout and space allocation review to assess sales productivity and highlight potential range improvements

  • Review of suppliers and stock holding policy

the results  

Sales and profit improved as well as the team morale and student engagement.


There was a restructure of the retail team and a successful building of links with other teams within USSU such as the catering and café teams – this resulted in shared costs and new product development.


Supplier terms and buying patterns changed to reflect the real ranges the students/ University staff wanted to see in-store


Better signage gave relevant information and compelling Student Union messages to build a sense of community and loyalty 

Sheffield University retail planning

See more examples of our work:

Contact us to learn more about what we do.



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