Professional Jeweler Archive: Fixture Fix

February 2001


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