How can you use store design to make a large edge-of-town retail space work?

For retailers trading from edge-of-town premises or retail parks, it’s almost a racing certainty that their offers are being displayed in the unappealingly named sheds.

Sheds are fit for purpose: they hold a lot of stock, tend to be cheaper to rent and shoppers can park outside. But they are still sheds and ensuring that shoppers inspect the whole space is a challenge as there can frequently be a monotonous pace that verges on boredom.

Can this be overcome? Giles Brookes, a director at design consultancy Twelve, says: “Creating a sense of arrival is always a good start. This is not just a: ‘Welcome to our big shop’ graphic or the ubiquitous seasonal display, but something that is genuinely individual, local and on a human scale.”

Brookes adds that having done this, creating changes of pace at regular intervals is essential. “Not just by colour or finishes, but through landscape, tone of voice, density and lighting,” he explains.

He says in-store “shop windows” can be used to introduce each category and ensure that when shoppers look across a space, they want to travel beyond the entrance.

Finally, if you have excess space, don’t feel obliged to fill all of it. Sometimes doing nothing but “doing it beautifully”, can provide the visual break shoppers require when confronted with a very large single-level retail floor.