Professional Jeweler Archive: Fixture Fix

February 2001

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Fixture Fix

Survey shows that lack of creativity worries retailers most


Cost, innovative design and improved customer service are top concerns when selecting store fixtures, according to a survey of more than 200 retailers in 2000.

Over the coming year, these retailers plan to spend $30 million on new fixturing projects, says Display & Design Ideas magazine. Discounters and mass merchants have the most aggressive plans. The survey also included department stores, mass merchandisers and specialty stores.

Retailers now spend an average $41.70 per square foot for perimeter fixtures, up 13% from in 1999. Loose fixtures average $39.07, a 12.5% increase. But a majority of retailers (54.8%) expect no increase in fixture costs over the coming year. Why? Manufacturing efficiencies, value engineering, economies of scale and material savings among suppliers. (Nearly a third – 31% – believe costs will go up.)

Concern about Creativity

More than cost, lack of creativity most concerns retailers, a trend complicated by a growing number of mergers that make it harder for small fixture manufacturers to do business. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said having a “variety of fixture types and materials” was the value-added service that mattered most when choosing a supplier. To get what they want, more than a third of retailers (34.6%) reported using more fixture suppliers than the previous year.

Other value-added services listed include logistics, coordination and implementation (63.7%); store design services (36.3%); and merchandising expertise (33.8%). Only 12.7% said they value online access.

Looking ahead, nearly 70% of retailers predicted an increase in the use of technology in store fixturing over the coming two years. “Interactive technology will become a basic component of fixturing and no longer the exception,” wrote one respondent.

Currently, only about a quarter (24.5%) of retailers have no electronic technology in their fixtures. The largest share (37.5%) said up to 10% of their fixtures use electronics. Electronics present in more than half of store fixtures for only 15.8% of retailers.

Of course, these are average. Alex Redman, a senior store designer at Banana Republic, cautioned that interactive technology is not a universal solution for retailers. “[Interactive fixtures] are much more appropriate in an electronics store, for instance, than a jewelry or soft goods store,” said Redman, who nevertheless noted such stores can profit from technology when used subtly.

– by Mark E. Dixon


Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications