Retail Trade Structure Analyses

The basis for all target-oriented, as well as lasting, development and positioning is having precise knowledge of one's own situation and the relevant market developments. This applies just as much for municipal business promotion or town planning as for the operators of shopping centres and trading companies in the private sector. Expertly researched in detail and comprehensibly-structured ecostra retail trade structure analyses enable municipal decision-makers to carry out development measures which achieve the strengthening of the city center as a retail trade location and guarantee town-centre retail supply in the long term.

A professional retail trade structure analysis usually comprises the following services (basic package):

  • Presentation of general trends in the development of trade and location, and also of the relevant legal framework of location development in the retail trade (German Land Use Ordinances and Federal Building Code, regional planning laws and regional planning ordinances, etc.)
  • Relevant general socio-economic conditions (development of population and purchasing power, commuter effects, unemployment, etc.)
  • Analysis and evaluation of the regional competitive situation
  • Delineation of the catchment area of the local retail trade, and zoning according to the degree to which purchasing power can be tapped
  • Calculation of the retail-trade-relevant purchasing power potentials within the delineated catchment area, differentiated according to individual sectors
  • Detailed description of the local retail trade structure and the relevant business locations
  • Spatial delineation of the city center and/or the central retail supply areas
  • Presentation of the current data on existing retail trade stores and their performance, differentiated according to individual sectors (number of businesses, sales area furnishing, turnover generated, mix of sectors, mix of business types) and also according to spatial sub-zones (e.g. city centers, district centers, non-central locations)
  • Determination and evaluation of key supply and service figures (e.g. sector-related sales area per inhabitant, business size structures, sector-related sales area productivity figures, turnover per inhabitant)
  • Analysis of purchasing power flow in the area, broken down by individual sectors (purchasing power inflow and outflow, broken down by zones of the catchment area, purchasing power retention rates, market penetration and centers of retail trade)
  • Forecasting the future development of the retail-trade-relevant purchasing power volumes in the catchment area (over a time period of approx. 7 - 10 years)
  • Compilation of a list of center-relevant product ranges adapted to the local situation
  • Analysis and determination of possible development potentials (establishment of new stores, expansion of sales areas, etc., differentiated by location positions)
  • Development of a location and center concept
  • Recommendations for making the local retail trade range attractive and for optimising the relevant general conditions (e.g. traffic, public areas and organisation)

If need be, the services in this basic retail trade structure analysis package can of course be supplemented by additional components such as:

  • The carrying out of surveys of the retail trade, households, consumers or passers-by
  • Feasibility and/or compatibility analyses of plans to possibly establish new stores
  • Photographic documentation

and more besides. Contact us - together with you, we'll examine how the defined tasks can be carried out in the best possible way.


Commercial space demand analyses

Today, municipal commercial space policy faces various challenges. Simply providing large business districts at reasonable prices is insufficient here, particularly at times when resources are scarce, possibilities of building in settlement areas are limited, and - especially in the case of economically successful towns - when there is a need to create new residential areas for a growing population. A future-oriented commercial space policy must find answers to a variety of questions. How great will the endogenous and exogenous demand for new commercial space be within the foreseeable future? What location factors do the individual sectors require and where can adequately-sized spaces which possess these features be provided? Which sectors are synergetic, and which sectors experience utilisation conflicts? Can old locations be reused for new businesses? Is there a stock of commercial space in reserve?

Here, a professional commercial space demand analysis provides relevant information for municipal promotion of economic development. Based on an extensive study of local economic structures, the location conditions and requirements, as well as the available and, where applicable, utilisable stock of commercial space, are calculated in this study of the local qualitative and quantitative need for development.

This involves carrying out the following work steps:

  • Compilation of the relevant structural data for the area under study and/or the economic region (e.g. geographical position, economic and employment structure, traffic infrastructure, location factors, intermunicipal comparison). The carrying out of a SWOT Analysis)
  • Presentation of the current structural situation regarding commercial space (cartographic presentation and qualitative description, presentation and assessment of the available commercial space)
  • The carrying out of a broad-based survey of companies, as well as interviews with local experts (e.g. representatives of economy promotion bodies, business managers of resident enterprises, representatives of the chambers, commercial brokers)
  • Determination of the requirements of the companies in the area under study at business locations (e.g. location factors, utilisation mixture, infrastructure facilities)
  • Analysis of the quantitative and qualitative need for commercial space within the area under study. Parallel to the results of the company survey, the future need for commercial space will - in the form of a control and plausibility calculation - be calculated with the aid of a model calculation (commercial and industrial space demand forecast).

The work steps of this basic commercial space demand analysis package can of course be supplemented through additional components as the need arises, e.g.:

  • Specific development potentials of certain business and industrial districts
  • Proposals for a possible rough utilisation concept for business and industrial districts (utilisation structure, sectors, business location recommendations, necessary supplementary infrastructure, etc.)
  • Furthermore, the scope and form of the company survey can be designed to be variable.

The concrete programme of work for conducting a commercial space demand analysis can be adapted according to the set task and/or specifics of the area under study or the business and industrial districts which are specifically to be studied.


Entertainment venue planning concepts

The term "entertainment venues" refers to businesses that, as defined under planning law, are oriented towards the commercial entertainment of customers and which appeal in various ways to people's gaming, sexual and sociable appetites. As well as discotheques, amusement arcades, night bars and variety shows, the term also covers striptease clubs and peepshows. Facilities like pubs and restaurants, theatres, concert halls, fitness studios, as well as bowling alleys, do not count as entertainment venues.

The establishment of entertainment venues often causes conflicts with other business and private utilisations. These conflicts arise, for example, due to crowding-out effects on skilled craft & trade and on retail trade businesses which are not in a position to generate comparable levels of rent in the competition for commercial space. These conflicts also arise due to noise disturbances, image problems and also conflicts between different target groups. Last but not least, entertainment venues can trigger what are called "trading-down" effects in inner-city business districts - and also in industrial, mixed and residential districts - so that, for urban development reasons, planning control and thus an exclusion of entertainment venues from certain sub-districts of a municipality becomes necessary.

The technical basis for such exclusion of entertainment venues from certain sub-districts of a town is an entertainment venue planning concept. This kind of differentiated overall planning concept serves, for example, to facilitate town or city administration by providing an orientation and urban land-use planning basis for controlling the often not unproblematic establishment of entertainment venues.

The creation of a professional entertainment venue planning concept usually includes the following work steps:

  • The presentation of the relevant definitions and planning law bases (definition of entertainment venues, bases for planning law as laid down in the Land Use Ordinance [BauNVO], Building Code [BauGB], etc.)
  • Ascertainment of the current number of entertainment venues in the local municipality on the basis of a survey and listing of all entertainment venues throughout the urban area (complete survey, incl. mapping)
  • Analysis of the structural situation, differentiated according to sub-districts
  • Assessment of the structural situation and identification of problem areas. Presentation of the urban development goals for the respective planned districts and a statement of reasons why it may, where appropriate, be necessary to exclude entertainment venues
  • The working out of a district-related development concept for the town or municipality (spatial demarcation of those districts in the urban area that are basically suitable, in view of planning law and their utilisation structure, for the establishment of - certain selected - entertainment venues, determination of districts where these should be excluded or restricted, the checking of existing land development plans and recommendations for exercising control in accordance with zoning laws)
  • Coordination or harmonisation of the entertainment venue planning concept with, if applicable, an existing retail trade and centre planning concept.

All results of the study and recommendations are documented in writing in a comprehensive final report.