business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Laval University in Quebec “is poised to set up North America's first so-called "supermarket school" -- a fully functioning retail outlet on or near campus that will be run by one of the province's major grocery chains and double as a research/teaching facility.

“The proposed store will boast eggheads along with the regular eggs. It will allow researchers in food processing, nutrition, marketing, management, industrial relations and other disciplines to enjoy the benefits of a vast, working laboratory.”

Among the major Canadian grocery companies considering making an investment in the facility – Loblaw, Metro, and Sobeys. However, the article notes that “the corporate partners don't stand to benefit directly from the research results, which will be in the public domain, but they want to ensure that the grocery business maintains its edge in terms of products, management, technology and a well-trained talent pool.”
KC's View:
In an era where management talent is increasingly thin, it makes sense for retailers to invest in programs like these. In fact, there are plenty of programs out there - run by institutions like Portland State University, Cornell University, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, and St. Joseph’s University – that benefit from the participation of major companies…though we think the companies actually benefit more.

If your organization is not involved with these or another academic institution, it should be.