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IRUK 500 Study: Physical stores and their demographics

IRUK 500 Study: Physical stores and their demographics

The largest multichannel retailers in the UK have a comparable number of consumers living within a short distance of a store despite the retailers’ total number of stores varying considerably, reveals a recent study by IRUK 500 knowledge partner Geoblink .


Companies that operate two, three or even four times the number of stores than others only experience marginal increases to the total number of consumers within a 15 minute drive, suggested the analysis, which included major Elite and Leading IRUK 500 retailers.

Boots and the major supermarkets each operate thousands of stores and the most distributed has 56 million British consumers within a 15 minute drive with 28,000 unique potential customers within this range for the average store. Apple’s fewer-than-40 store network, at the other end of the spectrum of measured retailers, reaches more than 12 million consumers with more than 300,000 unique consumers within range of the average store.

It’s an analysis that turns attention to the differences in the type of products sold as well as the frequency of shopping trips. Retailers need to know what their opportunities are and to what degree the neighbourliness of their own stores may lead to an internecine battle for custom.

The data from this Geoblink study backs up intuition on this point: retailers with less distinguishable propositions or which sell goods that require more frequent purchase tend to group their stores more densely and each store vies for the custom of fewer unique consumers. Companies selling durable or brand-distinguished goods, in contrast, are able to reach roughly the same number of consumers with far fewer stores, relying on occasional and intentional shopping more than convenience.

About the study



Geoblink is a location intelligence tool for retailers to optimise expansion, marketing and distribution strategies. The study identifies the number and the demographics of consumers who live within a short travel (by car or by foot) of the physical stores of Elite and Leading IRUK 500 retailers. The analysis is due to be repeated on more retailers while building a more detailed understanding of each retailer’s demographic opportunities – by age, sex, occupation, education, household status and more.

Featured image: a map view of the store locations analysed for one retailer and their 15-minute travel radii. Source: Geoblink.

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