Small Spaces

Small Spaces

Space is the one-thing retailers universally agree on – they always wish they had more. If you’re “space challenged” and have no plans to add more square footage or move to a larger store, you have to make the most of the space you have.


A small store takes organization because there are so many things to consider. One is the balance sheet. Every retail store must maintain certain inventory levels to create the sales per square feet needed to be successful. The necessary sales-per-square-feet figures vary from store to store and market to market but $300 to $350 is considered a good return. Is it possible to reach that figure? Sure. Take, for example, the storeowner in Lexington, Kentucky who sold 4,500 webbing watchbands in two square feet of space for sales of $14,000 at a 55% margin in one month. That’s a good return for two square feet of space. The trick is finding one or two products that take little space and return big returns.

Visual expansion

The look of the shop is also important. The interior of the shop while small can look larger by using light colored walls. Keep in mind that dark walls advance, light walls retreat.
Lighting becomes very important in a small space. Lightly colored walls washed by halogen light give the impression of more space. The lighter the walls the more they’ll appear to recede.

Direct traffic

If your store is square in shape, a central aisle down the center with secondary aisles to the walls will move customers in a comfortable and effective pattern.
Establish traffic patterns by placing groups of small tables, stacked crates, hat trees, chairs, furniture pieces, indoor trees, pots, or displays in strategic “islands” throughout the store. People love to make their own discoveries so don’t be afraid to stack product on the floor and hang it from the ceiling.

Go to the wall

The workhorses of your store are the walls. They hold a lot of merchandise and show
it off to best advantage. You can increase your wall space and create feature nooks by
building two-and-a-half foot wide wall extensions at right angles to your existing walls.
Cover them in the same color and finish (slatwall, shelving, etc.) as your back wall and
utilize each cubby to showcase a different vendor or category of merchandise.

Trading on impulse

Products placed near the cash register tend to sell quickly. The cash/wrap area is an important
one in your store. You’ve heard the expression that 80% of sales are done in 20% of space.
That 20% of space may well be the area around your register. It’s a great place to stock impulse
While customers are waiting to pay for their purchases you have their undivided attention.
Give them something to look at, pick up and touch. Refrigerator magnets, small books and
journals, potpourri bags, jewelry items and small toys are perfect choices for register
merchandising. Also make sure you don’t crowd customers in this all-important spot in the store.