Retail Space Study Finds Consumables Growth at Expense of Hardlines

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Retail Space Study Finds Consumables Growth at Expense of Hardlines


A recent study of linear space allocations uncovered pervasive growth in retail space dedicated to consumables and a corresponding reduction in nonconsumables, with hardlines as the biggest casualty. Offering channel and regional comparisons, analysis of key retailer space allocation initiatives across the food, drug and mass channels in the United States, and an interpretation of how space allocation by department aligns with ad space in circulars and sales, the study, “Know Your Space 2012,” is the second installment of a joint production of Kantar Retail and Crossmark.

The first part of the research, “The Annual Retail Space Allocation Study,” came out in 2010 and was used as a foundation to establish major trends.

“This study is invaluable to companies that need to know where old opportunity has gone and where new opportunity lies within the U.S. retail landscape,” noted Rachel Donovan, director, retail insights for London-based Kantar Retail and lead author of the study. “Assessing the amount of space devoted to a department and facing the shopper, and the resulting shopper impact, is critical to anyone interested in aligning to retailer strategies.”

“‘Know Your Space 2012’ provides key trends and insights across major channels and retailers, with implications for merchandising, category management and shopper marketing,” added Alex Siskos, VP – Business Insights at Plano, Texas-based Crossmark. “It provides valuable information for manufacturers to understand evolving store formats and shifts in product range and space allocation, as well as for retailers interested in their competitive landscape.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • Many retailers are more willing to attempt to meet multiple shopper needs with a portfolio of stores, instead of  a single standard box.
  • Overall, dry grocery, alcohol, frozen, dairy, meat/seafood, service deli, produce and HBC saw slight increases in total allocated space to each department in 2011 as compared to 2009, with space coming from nonfoods, bakery, hardlines, softlines, cosmetics and pharmacy; the largest decrease in overall space was from hardlines.
  • Supermarkets have shifted dry grocery and hardline space across produce, dairy and frozen.
  • Kroger has continued to develop and refine its Marketplace format into remodels of its more conventional stores.

The study  encompasses the retail space approaches used and the merchandising emphasis by department (for more than 15 departments) in more than 700 stores, including Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Safeway and Supervalu.