Now more than ever, retailers must demonstrate great value in a challenging economic environment. Mays Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) is at the epicenter of this dynamic market.
Founded in 1983, CRS is expanding its reach under director Scott Benedict, who brings 35 years of experience working with top national retailers. “I inherited something very unique and special,” he said.
During his first six months, Benedict led a strategic planning process that identified three priorities: educating future retail industry leaders, developing stronger networks, and conducting research. CRS is now inviting corporate partners to assist with the activation of these priorities.
The educational priority involves enhancing CRS’s curriculum to include courses on cutting-edge topics, such as retail strategy and digital merchandising. The center will also explore different teaching modalities, including creating a “living” retail lab where Mays students can gain real-world, first-hand retailing experience.
Benedict believes that because of CRS’s annual Retailing Summit, the center is perfectly positioned to expand its outreach to industry leaders, the center’s second priority. “When you have such a dynamic industry, building and maintaining relationships is critical,” Benedict said. “We want to be the hub that brings the retailing industry together.”
The third priority, encouraging research on retail, addresses the need to do studies that are meaningful in both academic and retail communities. “We want to leverage tremendously valuable faculty expertise to engage in research that is impactful not only from a scholarly standpoint but also with a real return on investment to the retail community,” Benedict said.
Benedict believes the role of retail has never been more critical. “A number of stories about retail companies emerged during the pandemic that highlighted the vital role that retail plays in getting food, prescription drugs, and other necessities to consumers in a very challenging environment,” Benedict said. “The retail market plays a key role in both business and society as a whole. It touches everyone’s life. We want to be at the forefront of the decisions that shape our retail economy worldwide through research, teaching, and lifelong learning.”