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What Size Retail Building Do I Need



Deciding how much space your store needs can be tricky. 

What size building or store do you need? When planning your retail store, the amount of selling space will be one of the most important factors in selecting a location. It is can also be one of the most difficult to determine.

  As with any new business, most of your assumptions will be based on industry research and comparing similar stores operating in similar locations. To get an estimate on how much selling space your store must have, divide the planned sales volume by your industry's sales per square foot. 

Sales Volume ÷ Sales per Square Foot = Selling Space 

Let's say you believe your proposed bookstore will do $250,000 per year in sales and market data says the average sales-per-square-foot in a bookstore is $150. By plugging those numbers into our formula, the amount of selling space you will need is approximately 1666 square feet.

Deciding How Much Space 

But do you definitely need this much space? It depends. Too large a space, and you may end up with a store that looks empty, and that's not very inviting to customers. Too small a space will leave your shop looking cluttered, which in the case of a bookstore might create an interesting vibe, but for other stores might be a bad idea.  

Besides just choosing how much square footage you want, be sure you're also considering the location. A new strip mall seeking tenants might be offering cheaper-than-usual rents to fill space, but is it worth the risk to be one of the first stores in an untested location? 

Do your homework to determine whether the rest of the area is busy enough to drive traffic to your location.  

Pick the Right Location 

One area a lot of new companies don't consider is whether the area where they want to locate is properly zoned for the type of business they plan to open. Don't just assume that because an area is zoned commercial that you can put your lingerie store there. 

Check that the building's requirements meet your needs before falling in love with a location. This will save you headaches down the road.  

Besides selling space, remember to factor in extra square feet for an office area, stockroom, storage, and/or bathrooms. Although you may want room to grow, keep the size of the building close to your store's needs.  

And consider your neighbors. Are the other businesses in the shopping center you're eyeing too similar or too different from yours to help drive foot traffic? Finding that good mix can mean the difference between robust business and lackluster sales.  

Make Sure You Don't Overspend 

Other than location, the most important thing to consider when choosing where to locate your retail business is how much space you can comfortably afford. When budgeting for rent and utilities, try to overestimate how much it's going to cost you, rather than underestimating.  The last thing you want to worry about is whether you can bring in enough money just to pay the rent.  

Once you choose your first location, you can start learning everything you need to know so that when it's time to expand, you and your business are ready. 


Compiled in Editorial Board of Retailiran 


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