The CCM story began in the late 1970s, it is claimed, in a parking house close to the Stockholm School of Economics. Both Per Jonas Eliaeson, president of the Stockholm School of Economics at that time, and Nils-Erik Wirsäll (1916-2008), then president of ICA AB, happened to use the very same supplier of parking space, and these two gentlemens' encounters in the parking house eventually led to the idea of a research project devoted to retailing and distribution research, where focus would be on applied research, especially within consumer goods retailing and wholesaling.
Subsequently, in 1981, the project became a formal research center within The Economic Research Institute at the Stockholm School of Economics. Its research was sponsored by some 20 companies within the retailing and distribution sectors. The center was called The Foundation for Distribution Research (FDR), and its first director was Claes-Robert Julander. He was recruited from the Center for Economic Psychology, where he had been doing research on individual savings behavior and on effects of changes in retail structure on consumer behvarior and satisfaction. His thesis, Sparande och effekter av ökad kunskap om inkomstens användning, had been presented in 1975.
In the early FDR years, Julander worked with Thomas Falk and Karl-Olov Hammarkvist. Examples of publications from this time are 80-talets Grosshandel (1980) edited by Hammarkvist and Wirsäll, Current Trends in Distribution Research written by Falk and Julander (1983), and Extrapriser och veckoannonser. Effekter av dagligvaruhandelns extraprisaktiviteter by Julander (1983).
Then, in the following years, a strong emphasis was put on the interface between information technology and distribution. Questions studied were to what extent information technology would change the distribution of goods and services and make the distributon system more efficient, and to how the vast amounts of information created by scanners could be put to use for marketing decisions within retailing. Among papers written could be mentioned Improved in store marketing from technology sourced data by Julander from 1986, Distribution av varor och tjänster i informationssamhället by Fredriksson, Holmlöv and Julander, and What's in the Basket? Recipt Analysis for marketing decisions: an exploratory study.
In the following years research into productivity in grocery retailing as well as the relationship between productivity and customer satisfaction was conducted. Moreover, various aspects of advertising and branding were studied, leading to a number of publications. These strands of research were also manifested in Phd dissertations as well as licnetiate dissertations. The first FDR doctoral thesis was presented in 1995 by P-G Persson, and it was called Modeling the Impact of Sales Promotion on Store Profits.
In 1996, Julander became the president of the Stockholm School of Economics, and Richard Wahlund was appointed director of FDR. Wahlund had been a researcher at the Center for Economic Psychology. Moreover, in 1996 the second FDR thesis appeared: Carina Holmberg's Stores and Consumers – Two Perspectives on Food Purchasing.
A couple of years later Wahlund became dean of IHR/GI, and Magnus Söderlund became the new director in 1998. He was recruited from the The Center for Marketing, Distribution and Industry Dynamics at SSE where he was involved in research on customer satisfaction. In 1999, the third thesis was presented: Jonas Gunnarson's Portfolio-Based Segmentation and Consumer Behavior. Somewhat later the same year, Anne Mägi defended her thesis Store Loyalty? An Empirical Study of Grocery Shopping.
FDR changed its name to Center for Consumer Marketing in 2000, in order to signal that the department was involved in consumer behaviour theory and its marketing applications. Two doctoral projects were finished this year, resulting in Lars Bergkvist's thesis Advertising Effectiveness Measurement: Intermediate Constructs and Measures, and Per Håkansson's thesis Beyond Private Label: The Strategic View on Distributor Own Brands.
The first thesis in the new century was Micael Dahlén's Marketing on the Web: Empirical Studies of Advertising and Promotion Effectiveness. It was followed in 2003 by Fredrik Lange's thesis Brand Choice in Goal-derived Categories: What are the Determinants? In the same year, these two researchers published a challenging book on marketing communications. And in the same year, a book by Magnus Soderlund on emotional responses to marketing received the Marketing Book of the Year Award in Sweden. These works illustrate CCM's movement towards an increasing interest in marketing communications effectiveness.
Then, in 2005, Jens Nordfält defended his thesis Is consumer decision-making out of control? Non-conscious influences on consumer decision-making for fast moving consumer goods. He extended this work to a popular version, which received the Marketing Book of the Year Award 2007.
At this point, CCM research had become adapted to the international scene, in the sense that the typical thesis comprised published articles in international journals. CCM researchers also served as reviewers in such journals and as faculty opponents in several countries. In addition, many CCM researches were involved in teaching in different countries in northern Europe, such as Norway, Finland, Denmark, Russia, and Latvia. From a research method point of view, an increasing share of CCM studies comprised experiments.
In 2007, two CCM theses were presented: Hanna Hjalmarson’s En växande marknad and Karolina Brodin’s Consuming the Commercial Break. This year was also the point of departure for CCM’s ambition to become a center of excellence in consumer behavior research; a 10-year plan was developed, and initial funds for this undertaking were obtained.