Retail design adopts critical role

Design has a critical role to play in differentiating retailers as store space is being forced to work harder to pay for itself, says Verdict Research in a new survey.

“The new space is considerably more expensive than the poorly located old shops which are closing, and a much higher level of sales is therefore needed to pay for these higher costs,” says Verdict’s survey, Space 2000.

The report examines the growth and use of retail space since 1990 and predicts that total retail floor space will increase by 2.1 million m2 over the next five years. A similar amount has been added since 1990.

The role of design has changed since the last half of the 1980s, says Verdict chairman Richard Hyman: “Design is no longer an end in itself. It is a means by which retailers present a distinctive identity to consumers.”

The report questions the change in the planning system intended to reinvigorate the high street by restricting out-of-town development and “whether [this] will necessarily lead to reinvestment in these smaller centres”.

The continued demand for out-of-town will ensure a growth in the superstore format and further design opportunities, Hyman maintains: “Out-of-town [design] has got an awful long way to go. A lot of sheds don’t have very well- developed identities and store design can play a part.”

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