The Center for Retailing


The mission of the Center is to provide innovative retail assistance to communities, development organizations, agencies, and businesses. We advocate for the retailing industry, focusing on retailing-related issues, providing credible data, and promoting the industry as a globally viable economic development strategy.

About the Center for Retailing

Retailing is the largest employer in the United States, second only to the US government. The industry crosses over into multiple fields including fashion, entertainment, sports culture, literature, and medicine. The Center serves international, national, regional, state, and local clients.

Our Clients

The Center serves economic development organizations, city and regional planners, community developers, chambers of commerce, local governments, national governments, regional development organizations, and local, state, federal, and international agencies. It also provides services to individual businesses on a fee-service basis. Proposals for project work are free-of-charge.

About the Director

Dr. Marianne Bickle

Dr. Marianne Bickle, Director for the Center for Retailing, College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management, University of South CarolinaAuthor, lecturer, researcher, consultant, and retailer, Dr. Marianne Bickle is the director of the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina. The Center provides both local and international projects and research focusing on industry competiveness. Her academic and professional experiences with brick-and-mortar retailing, direct marketing, Internet retailing, category management, distribution, and marketing provides her with an uncommon perspective on and familiarity with the industry.

Dr. Bickle has conducted research in cross-channel shopping behavior, internet shopping, social responsibility, fashion marketing, effectiveness of visual merchandising techniques, category management, and consumer behavior decision making in a tourism environment. Her professional work includes market analysis, survey research, corporate training, and participation on retail Board of Directors.

Dr. Bickle is the author of Fashion Marketing: Theory, Principles and Practice published by Fairchild Books (available at and Barnes & She is also a weekly blogger for Marianne has published and presented in excess of 90 peer refereed papers in relation to cross-channel shopping, e-commerce, and student learning paradigms of retailing. She has built and enhanced international relationships as part of the Center's and Department of Retailing's strategic plans.

Dr. Bickle has fostered international relationships with Paris Fashion Institute (France, Italy), Hanyang University (Korea), and American Intercontinental University (United Kingdom). Dr. Bickle takes 20 students on a Maymester study abroad trip annually. Locations have included London, Paris, and Italy.

Dr. Bickle earned her Ph.D. in Family Ecology, and a master's degree in clothing and textiles. She holds a B.S. in retailing of clothing and textiles; all degrees were earned from Michigan State University. She is associate editor of the International Journal of Culture, Tourism & Hospitality Research and on the editorial board of The Journal of Multi-Channel Marketing.

Dr. Bickle has been cited as an expert on retailing and the retail economy by the following organizations:
Coastal Observer — Pawley's Island, SC newspaper
The Sun—Myrtle Beach, SC newspaper
NPR (National Public Radio) radio station
South Carolina Radio Network
The State Newspaper
WACH FOX—television station
WIS-TV—television station