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Center for Research in Retailing (IFH associates)

IFH associates

The IFH was founded in 1929 by Prof. Dr. Rudolf Seyffert and is thus the oldest affiliated institute of the University of Cologne. Konrad Adenauer, mayor of the city of Cologne at the time, invites to the city hall of Cologne for the inauguration. Since its beginning, the IFH associates have operated as a non-profit association at the interface of science and managerial practice. They stand for the mutual exchange of information between academic research and the business world. This exchange is brought to life through intensive networking and regular knowledge transfer.

The IFH associates, today under the direction of Prof. Dr Werner Reinartz, have made it their business to use research findings - especially due to their proximity to the Department of Retailing and Customer Management at the University of Cologne - and to prepare them for the retail industry and its stakeholders. Thus, IFH Associates benefit from foundational studies, knowledge databases, events, and lectures.

Members are retail and manufacturing companies, associations, chambers, universities, service providers, and public institutions. The executive committee of IFH Associates is made up of renowned heads of the retailing industry in Germany.

Most important competences

IFH sponsors are committed to the tradition of scientific retail research and its practical application. The topics worked on are determined in cooperation with the Seminar for Retail and Customer Management, the IFH associates board, and the members. Every year, a focus study on a current retail-relevant topic is carried out. The annual event "Fascination of Retail" as a top management event is a core component of the service portfolio. The topics dealt with include the effects of digitalisation on trade, structural developments in trade (also under COVID-19), the evaluation of new value-added business models and customer-focused retailing strategies, as well as sustainability topics.

Cooperation and Networking

The IFH associates are networked with the retail sector in many different ways. The data platform provides the industry with detailed data. The data is collected jointly with IFH GmbH. In addition, the director represents the IFH associates at national and international industry events. At the annual event "Fascination Retail", scientific results from the academic network are presented, among others. The IFH sponsors are also sponsors of a junior professorship at the WiSo Faculty of the University of Cologne.

Historical Information

IFH Directors

  • 1929 - 1963: Prof. Dr. Rudolf Seyffert
  • 1963 - 1980: Prof. Dr. Edmund Sundhoff
  • 1980 - 1989: Prof. Dr. Fritz Klein Blenkers
  • 1989 - 2007: Prof. Dr. Lothar Müller-Hagedorn
  • 2007 - today: Prof. Dr. Werner J. Reinartz

All directors of the IFH associates were and are full-time professors at the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne.