Getting the right location – retail location planning

If you’re preparing to open a new retail location, to extend the reach of your existing estate or beginning a start up, identifying the right location with retail location planning, will be the single most important thing you do. The cost of opening a new outlet is wasted money if there is insufficient footfall that meets your target consumer audience.

Check your demographics

Build a detailed understanding of your customer characteristics and apply the resulting demographic segments or models to the population to create visual heat maps that illustrate where the highest density of matching population are. Characteristics can be as simple as understanding affluence levels across geographic areas or more complex by modelling demographic and life style attributes, looking at the proximity of footfall drivers, the retail environment and potential competitive pressure.

Additional considerations that can drive footfall are; other retailers that draw people to the area, industrial or office parks, travel hubs, leisure and entertainment venues, schools, colleges and hospitals.


Look your competitors in the eye

Sometimes the best place to be is as close to your biggest competitor as you can be, foot traffic is obviously important, but landing the ‘perfect’ customer is far more crucial. By being in close proximity to your competitors, you can benefit from their marketing efforts. Your competitors chose their locations based on the ideal demographics of a particular area, they’ve also devoted large portions of their advertising budget toward driving traffic to their locations.


Knowing what questions to ask for successful retail location plannning

Answering these questions for each of the sites you’re considering can help you decide on the best retail location for your business:

  1. Is the facility located in an area zoned for your type of business?
  2. Are the lease terms and rent favourable?
  3. Do people you want for customers live nearby? Is the population density of the area sufficient for your sales needs?
  4. Is the trade area heavily dependent on seasonal business?
  5. Is the facility consistent with the image you’d like to maintain?
  6. Are there any competitors located close to the facility? If so, can you compete with them successfully?
  7. Is the facility easily accessible to your potential customers?
  8. Is parking space available and adequate?
  9. Is the area served by public transportation?
  10. Can suppliers make deliveries conveniently at this location?


Location analysis or a retail location planning project evaluates the potential opportunity for a specific site.

This is applicable for retail stores investigating new locations, or shopping centre developers interested in understanding the market opportunity a proposed site might offer. Tailored to client needs, retail location planning would involve some of the following elements:

  • Overview of the surrounding market and review of macro trends such as population and employment growth.
  • Delineation of retail trade area boundaries for the site based on drive time analysis and other influencing factors such as economic investment, competition and accessibility.
  • Examination and benchmarking of trade area characteristics such as population and household change, and demographic characteristics such as age, income, and ethnicity.
  • Review of key retail store or shopping centre competition within the trade area

To find out more or to talk to one of our helpful team please email us now or call the office on 01926 887555


Clare Kiteley