Long Live Retail: How to Choose Your Next Store Location

As the old saying goes, it is location, location, location. However, while most of us associate this with the residential property market, let’s not forget that the same rules apply to retail.

Particularly nowadays, it’s harder than ever before to make it on the high street. Combine business rates, surging rents and all the other brick-and-mortar factors, and suddenly, you’re completely up against it.

Of course, this isn’t an impossible feat. Many businesses succeed on the high street, and you can most certainly join this illustrious group. To do this, choosing the right store location is key, and in today’s article, we’ll talk through some of the best ways to do this.

Look at the local competition

The first thing you need to do is look at the local competition. This will give you an indication of the type of stores that are succeeding in the area and those that are struggling.

Let’s take a classic example. Out-of-town retail parks tend to be dominated by home furnishing brands. While a narrow-minded view might be that companies are limiting themselves due to excessive competition in the area, the bigger picture suggests otherwise. After all, this is the location that shoppers visit to look for their next furniture, and companies are happy to be surrounded by competition to widen their audience. They know that in this market, this audience likes to shop around.

Of course, the above example will not apply every time, and each case will be very different.

Study local footfall figures

Fortunately, plenty of companies now provide in-depth footfall figures for retail locations. This is an excellent starting point for your search as you’ll be able to identify those areas which shoppers frequent most.

Even if you don’t want to go down the “official” route, you can take matters into your own hands. For example, you could visit the area at different times throughout the day and week to gauge how busy it is. This will also give you an indication of the type of shopper who frequents the area. Or, you could even assess the number of public transport links in the area and go from there.

As we alluded to in the first point we made in today’s article, it’s all about thinking outside the box.

Think about each and every cost

One of the most important things to do when choosing your next store location is to consider each cost. This includes the up-front costs, such as the deposit and rent, and the ongoing costs, such as business rates and insurance.

In short, you need to ensure that your chosen location is affordable and will allow you to make a healthy profit. It’s very easy to assume that the only cost of your retail premises will be the rent. As it turns out, this couldn’t be further away from the truth.