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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

Sue Sharples, Vic Callaghan and Graham Clarke

We describe a new approach to intelligent building systems, that utilises an intelligent agent approach to autonomously governing the building environment. We discuss the…

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Abstract

We describe a new approach to intelligent building systems, that utilises an intelligent agent approach to autonomously governing the building environment. We discuss the role of learning in building control systems, and contrast this approach with existing IB solutions. We explain the importance of acquiring information from sensors, rather than relying on pre‐programmed models, to determine user needs. We describe how our architecture, consisting of distributed embedded agents, utilises sensory information to learn to perform tasks related to user comfort, energy conservation, safety and monitoring functions. We show how these agents, employing a behaviour‐based approach derived from robotics research, are able to continuously learn and adapt to individuals within a building, while always providing a fast, safe response to any situation. Finally, we show how such a system could be used to provide support for older people, or people with disabilities, allowing them greater independence and quality of life.

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Sensor Review, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1984

Sue Sharples

In the last couple of years House of Fraser's profit slide has jerked upwards. This has been due in part to the introduction of a more thoughtful approach to merchandise…

Abstract

In the last couple of years House of Fraser's profit slide has jerked upwards. This has been due in part to the introduction of a more thoughtful approach to merchandise. To complement this, many of the stores are being redesigned. In what promises to be one of the largest refurbishment programmes the British retail trade has ever known, £100 million is being channelled into rapidly improving and updating the group. Allied International Designers (A.I.D.) have been given this important contract. Sue Sharples reports.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1986

Sue Sharples

Although retailing employs a large number of women, few reach the levels of middle management and still fewer reach the heady peaks of the upper echelons. Ten years after…

Abstract

Although retailing employs a large number of women, few reach the levels of middle management and still fewer reach the heady peaks of the upper echelons. Ten years after the implementation of the Sex Discrimination and Equal Opportunities Acts the Co‐operative College is unique in its appreciation of this wastage of talent, and to redress this imbalance a course has been set up, open to women only, to boost their management skills. Sue Sharples talked to Tina Lee, who set the course in motion.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1984

Sue Sharples

Snob, the women's fashion chain, was a typical sixties product — brash, crude, with red interiors decked about with Portobello Road pseudo twenties enamel advertisements…

Abstract

Snob, the women's fashion chain, was a typical sixties product — brash, crude, with red interiors decked about with Portobello Road pseudo twenties enamel advertisements, and so it had remained. Its failure last year gave a wonderful opportunity for a new managemet to give it a drastic overhaul, and surprisingly perhaps it wasn't snapped up by one of the larger fashion groups. They were pipped to the post by a relative newcomer in the retailing world, the Coutwall group, who are better known for clothes manufacturing. Sue Sharples takes a look at the new owners, charts their journey up the retailing ladder and examines their latest acquisition, which has been redesigned by John Michael Design Consultants.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1985

Sue Sharples

The burgeoning of the convenience store in the UK is taking many forms — from the home‐grown variety (often via symbol groups) to transatlantic imports. What they have in…

Abstract

The burgeoning of the convenience store in the UK is taking many forms — from the home‐grown variety (often via symbol groups) to transatlantic imports. What they have in common is extended opening hours and a broad variety of merchandise, hut within that band there are many variations, and the style of the operations are often dictated by the character of the parent company. We are now seeing the beginnings of an indigenous multiple, which, while springing from the roots of a floundering grocery chain, nevertheless has a mark of distinction and has pushed the c‐store into the upmarket bracket for the first time. Sue Sharples looks at the new style Cullen's convenience store.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 13 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1987

Sue Sharples

Until recently Woolworths have gained the reputation of being a bit coy about their plans. Now things have dramatically changed. About 130 of their stores are now rigged…

Abstract

Until recently Woolworths have gained the reputation of being a bit coy about their plans. Now things have dramatically changed. About 130 of their stores are now rigged out in the new design, with improved, better quality merchandise on sale, and the rest of the 818 outlets will be at least laid out along the new lines by July 1987. This extensive store programme is being speeded along by the company's new chief executive, Malcolm Parkinson. He's been in post for just over six months and is very keen on banging the drum for one of the biggest retailers in the UK. Sue Sharpies went to hear about his plans for the high street group.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

Sue Sharples

Migros City in the centre of Zurich in Switzerland is a far cry from the company's traditional superstore layout, and this dramatic departure seems to be successfully…

Abstract

Migros City in the centre of Zurich in Switzerland is a far cry from the company's traditional superstore layout, and this dramatic departure seems to be successfully meeting the city shoppers' needs. Sue Sharpies visited the centre and found out how a huge retailing empire can with enough vision, imagination and attention to detail radically reformulate its merchandising policy to suit the situation.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1985

Sue Sharples

A year after opening, Catford Home‐base remains a landmark in retail warehouse design. Its unique site demanded something special, and the winning scheme has combined…

Abstract

A year after opening, Catford Home‐base remains a landmark in retail warehouse design. Its unique site demanded something special, and the winning scheme has combined elegance with practicality.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1986

Sue Sharples

It is a pleasant surprise when a superstore is commended by a design panel. This was the accolade granted to Asda's Harrogate store, which has been open for over a year…

Abstract

It is a pleasant surprise when a superstore is commended by a design panel. This was the accolade granted to Asda's Harrogate store, which has been open for over a year now, providing not only a useful amenity but a distinctive and appropriate architectural feature.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1982

Sue Sharples

Three well‐known London department stores — Whiteleys, Swan & Edgar, Bournes — have all closed down in the last few months. Does this indicate the beginning of the…

Abstract

Three well‐known London department stores — Whiteleys, Swan & Edgar, Bournes — have all closed down in the last few months. Does this indicate the beginning of the collapse of the department store as such or is it simply the result of special circumstances, occurring more or less concurrently? Location is clearly a factor that needs to be taken into account. Whiteleys has struggled on valiantly in the past few years in an environment that has become increasingly indifferent to it. Even white elephants can briefly survive, but not when the circus leaves town. When department stores were in their triumphant heyday, they offered opulence, glamour and excitement. Gordon Selfridge persuaded Bleriot to lend the store his biplane soon after that intrepid aviator had flown across the Channel in 1909; and in the 30s several department stores flashed the latest news in moving lights across their fascias as Hitler moved implacably across Europe and the British concentrated on whether or not they would win the ashes. Has the department store's traditional glamour become irretrievably lost beneath grey layers of dowdiness? And what of the competition? With everybody diversifying into non‐food, what after all is the essential difference between a Tesco or an Asda superstore and a traditional department store? Except perhaps that the Tesco or the Asda may be much more fun to shop in? Perhaps the answer lies in how the department store intelligently uses its space; the shops‐within‐shops solution, for example. But while Debenhams continues to perform well with this as an essential strand of its operational policy, some commentators say that this was one of the reasons for the collapse of Bournes. Is specialisation the answer? The John Lewis Partnership has built up a unique and enviable reputation for fabrics — surely this specialisation must be a major factor in the group's profitability. Neither can the department store be seen in isolation from the community; the Law Lords' astonishing failure to realise that no public transport system in the civilised world can run without a subsidy means that London's public transport fares have now reached the kind of lunatic level that prohibits people from moving out of their suburban retreats without a special kind of masochism. Does this mean that suburban department stores will now blossom again around deserts of dead down‐towns? These are some of the questions that Sue Sharpies looks into in this special RDM feature.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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