George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

George Mason University School of Business Launches New Center for Retail Transformation

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Center to be global hub of knowledge, innovation and training for next-generation retail

Fairfax, VA — The George Mason University School of Business today announced the launch of the Center for Retail Transformation, dedicated to generating cutting-edge research, developing the next generation of retail leaders, and providing value-driven, real-world solutions for the largest part of the industry: small and medium sized retailers.

“The retail industry is changing at a dizzying pace, here in the Washington, D.C. region and around the world,” said Dr. Gautham Vadakkepatt, director of the Center for Retail Transformation. “While the industry is one of the largest private sector employers in the United States, COVID-19 has revealed challenges that many small and mid-sized retail leaders—as well as their consumers and vendors—still face. Our goal is to support this sector of the retail industry by leading the way on retail research, developing future retail leaders, and shaping the global conversation around small and medium sized retail.”

“Retail has always been an extraordinarily competitive and creative segment of the business community, and our present environment has forced many to reimagine their approach to this industry, both in-person and virtually,” said School of Business Dean Maury Peiperl. “Despite these challenges, innovators continue to carve out opportunities for success through a growing variety of retail business models. The Center for Retail Transformation will provide leading-edge expertise for the new world of retail, including artificial intelligence and automation, supply chain efficiencies, predictive analytics, and novel market strategies—all to meet and exceed consumer expectations. In addition, the Center’s launch follows the School of Business’ broader commitment to advance the UN Global Goals, recognizing industries' responsibility to go beyond value for shareholders and include all stakeholders.”

The Center for Retail Transformation at the School of Business has already begun developing strategic relationships with retailers, technology solution providers, trade associations, and key government entities. The Center will use those relationships to enhance Mason’s ability to educate retail leaders, including Mason School of Business students and retail sector visitors from around the world.

These relationships will also inform the Center’s research into changes in retail. The Center intends to produce data-driven forecasts of industry trends, as well as explore customer perceptions of specific retailers and the industry as a whole. Consistent with Mason’s emphasis on sustainability, the Center will promote socially responsible retail initiatives, including via student internships.