The Arthur Ryan Retail Centre, established in September 2012 in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), is an innovative centre for Retail Excellence. The centre is located in the School of Retail and Services Management within the DIT College of Business. The Centre acts as an interface between academia and the retail sector and aims to contribute towards the development of sustainable retail policy, effective retail education and supportive retail services for the retail and services sector. ‌


Barbara Mohan

Project Officer

Arthur Ryan Retail Centre


p: + 353 86 821 8391



The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by the Weston family, whose business interests include a majority stake in Associated British Foods, which in turn is home to the international retailer Primark, trading as Penneys in Ireland. Currently, Primark has 257 stores throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe, employing in excess of 46,794 people.

The Foundation operates primarily in the United Kingdom and contributes to a wide range of charities, from small, local community-based organisations to those with a national reach. 

The Foundation has pledged €1.1 million towards the building of the centre on the new campus at Grangegorman. The Centre is named the Arthur Ryan Retail Centre, in recognition of the contribution of founder of Penneys/Primark, Arthur Ryan to retail.

In 1969, Dublin-born retailer Arthur Ryan opened the first Penneys store in Ireland on behalf of The Weston Family. Since then the business has gone on to develop 247 stores in eight countries, now employing in excess of 43,000 people. The discount clothing chain has been one of the high street’s top performers during the recession, with Ryan accredited as the driving force and inspiration behind the successful business model.

Speaking at the launch of the centre in DIT, Arthur Ryan indicated that while the retail sector acts as a barometer for how the economy is performing, for its future success the sector must understand and analyse developments in areas such as technology, procurement and sourcing, logistics, and marketing;

The pace of change in the retail sector is enormous and business is increasingly international. To stay competitive, there is a constant need to innovate and to anticipate trends. The DIT College of Business has always provided excellent support and expertise to the retail sector in Ireland and I believe this new centre, based in the School of Retail and Services Management, will become a hub for educational opportunities, research, and industry outreach programmes.”
Dr Arthur Ryan, Founder of Penneys/Primark

In 2011, Dublin Institute of Technology conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Arthur Ryan for his outstanding contribution to business and employment in Ireland and globally. In a citation introducing Arthur Ryan to the Assembly at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Mr. Paul O’Sullivan said;

Arthur Ryan has succeeded in becoming a business legend in his own lifetime. He has established a highly successful retail business that has withstood periods of recession and remained relevant during an economic boom. His leadership demonstrates that Ireland can produce local brands that not only can compete against international giants coming in to Ireland, but can compete with them on their terms in their home markets, becoming a household name far from home. Moving from direct management into his current role as Chairman, he has built a strong 21st century company by managing to ‘stay the same by continually adapting’. “
Mr Paul O’Sullivan, Director and Dean of the College of Business

  • International retail industry symposiums – facilitate high-level forums addressing critical issues relevant to the retail and services sector. Key international academics and senior retail executives lead these interactive and informative events
  • Ongoing training and professional development programmes – one to two day courses specifically designed and delivered by expert academics and professionals in particular areas related to the retail sector
  • Trend forecast seminars – explore emerging consumer values and future attitudes with the aim of identifying new innovation territories
  • Decision support systems – development of statistical models to improve retail decision-making
  • Consumer behaviour analysis – primary research in retail consumer behaviour
  • Customised research – analysis of key retailing issues in a variety of areas including corporate social responsibility, supply chain management, the buying process, store design strategy and management, merchandising, retail location analysis and retail marketing

Communicating Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Claims
Professor Aidan O’Driscoll of the School of Marketing led a group of researchers in the Business, Society and Sustainability Research Centre and in the Arthur Ryan Retail Centre in studying how best to communicate a firm’s sustainability/corporate responsibility claims in order to achieve effective corporate reputation outcomes.
This research seeks to address a dilemma that greatly challenges managers. Put simply, how, to what extent, and to whom should firms and organisations promote their sustainability and corporate responsibility strategies and actions. Should there be a strident and broad promotion of aspirations or a more low key and focused approach to such claim making? What role does the company’s level of sustainability/CR adoption or readiness play in this process?
“The traditional communication models and approaches are becoming redundant in many ways, considering globalisation, the growth of social media, and climate change challenges. ‘Connecting’ about sustainability and corporate social responsibility needs a new dynamic”, argues Professor O’Driscoll.
The research is taking place in the food and retailing sector where sustainability/CR must address a multitude of challenging issues, ranging from transport, packaging waste, farming practice, food traceability, ethical sourcing, and energy consumption to worker’s rights.
Bord Bia, the government agency charged with developing Ireland’s food and drink exports, is supported this research. Bord Bia is committed to Ireland becoming a world leader in sustainably produced food and drink with its newly launched Origin Green campaign.

Supply Chain Risk Management Decision Support Tool – A Food Retail Application
The dynamic nature of supply chains and their complexity make them vulnerable to many different kinds of internal and external risk. Supply chain vulnerability has been heightened by the relentless drive for cost cutting and implementation of lean techniques such as JIT and Six Sigma, which have left very little room for error in decision making processes. To complicate this further, risk within a food supply chain (FSC) has the heightened risk elements of food health and safety and short product life cycles to manage. This projects overall purpose is the development of an integrated decision support tool for managing the complex aspects of managing risk in the FSC. Strong analytical tools such as mathematical programming, discrete event simulation, system dynamics, optimisation, and the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model are integrated into the decision support tool. Using the tool, FSC companies can mitigate and control risks more effectively while increasing employee understanding of not only the risks within their own organisation, but the entire supply chain, from “farm to fork”. The decision support tool is currently being implemented in a leading Irish retail enterprise FSC.

Interactive Supply Chain Management Training Game
Understanding the size and complex nature of supply chains and the costly impact of decisions when managing it is one of the biggest issues for organisations today. Advances in information technology - such as the internet, computer games and interactive simulations - can help supply chain decision makers learn about the magnitude and impact of the risks related to their decisions. Most importantly, we are now part of the virtual age, in which online multi-player games, virtual reality and simulations are a part of everyday life, making gaming and simulation a very important catalyst in the learning process. This research has developed a state-of-the-art supply chain management training game that retail organisations can use in training workshops to help employees learn more about the complexities of material, information and capital flows through the retail supply chain. The games user friendly interface and built-in SCM wizard make the training exercises both a fun and most importantly a learning experience.

Main Street Ireland
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. This visual ethnographic study documents the story of retailing in Ireland through the medium of photography. Collated images of consecutive store units along main streets across the country serve as a research tool to record the changing face of retail in Ireland and provide an insight into Irish social life in the twenty-first century.

Crowe, J, and Arisha, A (2013). An integrated decision support framework for assessing food supply chain risk management processes: A food retail case study. 20th European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Conference, Dublin.

Duffy, Deirdre (2012). Constructing 'Masculine' Identities: Consuming 'Feminine' Practices. In: Belk, Russell and Ruvio, Ayalla (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Identity and Consumption. Routledge, pp 344-352

Duffy, Dee (2012). Traversing the Matriarch's Domain: How Young Men Negotiate the Feminised Space of Fashion Consumption & Self-Presentation. In: Belk, Russell W., Askegaard, Soren and Scott, Linda (eds.) Research in Consumer Behavior, Volume 14, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp 69-87

Mahfouz, A, Crowe, J and Arisha, A. (2011). Integrating Current State and Future State Value Stream Mapping with Discrete Event Simulation: A Lean Distribution Case Study, The Third International Conference on Advances in System Simulation (SIMUL 2011) (pp. 169-76). Barcelona.

Murray, J., and Chen, H. (2012) Is Organisational Commitment Culturally Bound?, Irish Business Journal, Vol 7, Number 1, pp 4-19.

Murray, J. (2012) Fit for Purpose: An Analysis of the Competitiveness of Irelands Distribution System, in OCallaghan, E & ORiordan, D. [ed.], Retailing in Ireland: Contemporary Perspectives, Gill & MacMillan, Dublin.

Murray, J. (2012) The Expressive Role of Design & Architecture in Building Strong Retail Brands:  Communicative Effects in Avoca Retail Stores, [ed.], Retailing in Ireland: Contemporary Perspectives, Gill & MacMillan, Dublin.

O’Callaghan, E. & O’Riordan, D. (eds)(2012) ‘Retailing in Ireland: Contemporary Perspectives’, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin.

O’Callaghan, E. (2012), ‘Building Independent Retailer Brands through Retailer Branding' in O’Callaghan, E. & O’Riordan, D. (eds)(2012) ‘Retailing in Ireland: Contemporary Perspectives’, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin. pp. 55-66.

Tobail, A, Crowe, J and Arisha, A (2012). Book Chapter: Interactive Web-Based Simulation for Supply Chain Education, Boufoy-Bastick, B (Ed) Cultures of Teacher Education: Comparative International Issues of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Attainment, Analytrics, France.

Duffy, Deirdre (2011). The Negotiation and Consumption of Mediated Masculinities in the Artistry of the Male Self. In: Magennis, C. and Mullen, R. (eds.) Irish Masculinities: Critical Reflections on Literature and Culture. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, pp 89-102

O’Callaghan, E. (2008), ‘An empirical study of corporate branding in Retail SMEs’, Paper presented at EIRASS conference, Zagreb, Croatia, July.

O’Callaghan, E. (2007), ‘Better information for retail location decisions: a critical concern for Irish SMEs’, Business Ireland, Spring.

O’Callaghan, E & Wilcox, M. (2005), ‘In the Eye of a Storm: Battling with the discounters in a local market’, in Kilbride, C & Mortimer, G., ‘Cases in Marketing Management and Strategy’, Vol.4, Marketing Institute. Awarded 2nd place in the Irish Case Writing Competition 2004

O’ Callaghan, E. (2005), ‘Retail Service adds Value’, Running Your Business: Special Edition on Retailing, Vol 11, No.7 October.

Murray, J., Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B., Crone, M., Hewitt-Dundas, N., and Roper, S. (2003) The Spatial Distribution of Knowledge Creation Capability in Irish Regions, in O'Leary, E. [ed.], A New Agenda for Irish Regional Development, Liffey Press, Dublin.

O’ Callaghan, E. & O’Riordan, D. (2003) ‘Retailing at the Periphery: An Analysis of Dublin’s Tertiary City-Centre Shopping Streets (1972-2002)’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 31, No. 8. pp.389-400.

O’Callaghan, E & Wilcox, M. (2002), ‘Multiple and Symbol Operators: The battle for Market Leadership in the Irish Grocery Market’, Case prepared for the Irish Case Writing Competition 2002.

O’Callaghan, E., Keegan, J. & Wilcox, M. (2001), ‘Facilitators and Inhibitors of Supply Chain Innovation: An Irish Grocery Perspective’, Irish Marketing Review, Vol.14, No.2, pp26-38.

O’Callaghan, E & Wilcox, M. (2001), ‘The Strategic Response of Dublin’s Traditional Department Stores to Intensifying Competition’, Journal of Retail & Consumer Services, Vol. 8, PP213-225

O’Callaghan, E & Wilcox, M. (1999), ‘Aer Rianta International: The Internationalisation of a Duty Free Retailing Format”, in Dupuis, M & Dawson, J. (1999) ‘European Cases in Retailing”, Blackwell.

O’Callaghan, E. (1998), ‘Food Retailing in Ireland’, Mintel Irish Series.

O’Callaghan, E & Wilcox, M. (1997), ‘David and Goliath: Superquinn and Tesco in the Irish Market’, Overall Winner of the Irish Case Writing Competition, 1997