CROSSMARK Retail Space Allocation Trends Study Identifies Wide Growth in Consumables at the Expense of Hardlines

A study of linear space allocations reveals pervasive growth in retail space dedicated to consumables and a corresponding reduction in non-consumables, with hardlines being the hardest hit.  In general, the study identifies key retail merchandising approaches being implemented by major retailers operating across the food, drug, and mass (FDM) channels in the U.S. The study – Know Your Space – is the second installment of a joint production of two companies that provide retail insights, Kantar Retail and CROSSMARK. The first iteration of the study, The Annual Retail Space Allocation Study, was published in 2010 and was used as a basis to establish key trends.

Know Your Space reveals compelling and reliable insights on retail merchandising for trade partners, store designers, and others in need of comparable and metrical information about the specifics of retail store space, current allocations of merchandise, and the direction of store design.

“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,” said Rachel Donovan, Director, Retail Insights for 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,” she added. This unique study fills the void for an independent, large-scale examination and cross-channel analysis of retailing space.

The study delivers valuable channel and regional comparisons as well as analysis of key retailer space allocation initiatives. It also provides an interpretation of how space allocation by department aligns with ad space in circulars and sales.

“Know Your Space provides key trends and insights across major channels and retailers, with implications for merchandising, category management, and shopper marketing,” said Alex Siskos, Vice President – Business Insights at 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,” added Siskos.

Key findings include:

  •  Many retailers are now clearly more willing to attempt to meet multiple shopper needs with a portfolio of stores, rather than a single standard box repeated as often as possible.
  •  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.  Space came from non-food, bakery, hardlines, softlines, cosmetics, and pharmacy; the largest decrease in overall space came from hardlines.
  •  Supermarkets have shifted dry grocery and hardline space across produce, dairy and frozen.
  •  Within drug, the largest space change between 2009 and 2011 occurred in hardlines merchandise, with an overall decrease of -3.1%.
  •  Club has invested space in HBC, dairy and frozen from hardlines and non-food grocery.
  •  Target’s amount of space for consumables neatly matches their ad space but remains overall quite low compared to Walmart.
  •  Kroger has continued to develop and refine its Marketplace format into remodels of its more conventional stores.

 About the Know Your Space Study

The objective of the study is to provide insights and trends in retail space and design through a reliable in-depth sample of the linear space allocations by department for the following channels of retail:

  • Supermarkets
  • Drugstores
  • Warehouse Clubs
  • Mass Merchandisers
  • Supercenters
  • Value Discounters

The study reveals retail space approaches used and the merchandising emphasis by department (for more than 15 departments) in more than 700 stores, covering national and regional retailers operating in the FDM channels such as Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, SUPERVALU, CVS, and Dollar General, among others.

To learn more about the Know Your Space study, click here.  To inquire about how to purchase a copy of this study, contact

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