Director's Message

The retail sector employs the most people out of all sectors of the Canadian economy. Retail and wholesale trade account for 12% of the Canadian GDP.  The vibrancy and growth of this sector is vital for Canada’s future.

The David Sobey Centre aims to be a source of expertise in retail that will help Canadian retailers shape a strong future.  To achieve this goal, we fund applied retail research and support innovations. 

The David Sobey Centre was made possible due to a generous gift from Dr. David Sobey, Chairman Emeritus at Empire Company Limited.  We are very appreciative of his generosity and inspired by his vision.  We hope to play a role in helping build a vibrant retail sector in Canada.

The Centre is multidisciplinary in nature.  It brings together research expertise in marketing, human resources and leadership, operations, IT and data science and finance. We also draw upon expertise across the campus in psychology, occupational health and safety, geography and computing science. 

The Centre has three major areas of focus: 

  • Research that will help retailers address challenges of today and prepare for opportunities of tomorrow.  Each year we fund several research projects that address issues of great relevance to the retail sector.  Many of these projects involve collaboration with retailers. 
  • Innovation that will shape the future of retail. We support student-led as well as faculty-led innovation projects.  We are in the process of launching the Retail Imagination Lab, which will foster innovation in the retail sector.
  • Education and training that will develop the next generation of retail leaders. The David Sobey Centre offers the Retail, Innovation, Strategy and Excellence (RISE) program for retail executives who want to prepare their companies for a strong future.  We offer several experiential learning opportunities for students interested in the retail sector. 

To achieve our goals, we have partnered with retailers, tech companies and start-ups. We will develop more partnerships in the coming year.  If you see an opportunity for research collaboration or involvement in our educational offerings or innovation projects, please do contact us.

The David Sobey Centre is the proud sponsor of the annual Canadian National Retail Innovation Awards.  We also sponsor the Distinguished Retailer Speaker Series each year.  

Please visit our website frequently to see updates, synopsis of faculty research and news on upcoming events. 

Ramesh Venkat, PhD

Director