Finding the right retail property for you

20th March 2024 |

William Barton /

Every business is unique, and for those who want to enter the world of physical retail, finding the right property is no different.

If you’re a retailer ready to take your business to the high street, finding the right place to start can be daunting. It can be a real balancing act, but knowing what to look for before you begin your search can give you a head start.

So here are the top things to consider when looking for the right retail property:

Location, location, location

It may be a cliché at this point, but the old adage rings true: location is one of the most important things to consider when choosing the right retail property.

The first thing to consider is your target audience. You’ll want to find somewhere that attracts a demographic that matches your customer base. For example, if your business is looking to appeal to an audience of young adults, an area with a high student population such as in a university district would be an ideal spot.

It’s also important to consider your local competition. Depending on the type of business you run, nearby competition either be beneficial to you or a thorn in your side.

For example, customers going clothes shopping usually tend to browse around with an open mind, so might consider nearby alternatives. The opposite is true for the likes of grocery stores, where people generally already have a shopping list.

Another factor to consider is visibility, as you want it to be easy for potential customers to find and access your business, especially if your brand isn’t very well known. Try to find areas with high footfall, and ideally space for an impressive shopfront. This can go a long way in attracting new customers and growing your business quickly.

Finding a property that suits your needs

Gorodenkoff /

Once you’ve picked the right location, it’s important that the property you choose meets your needs.

Depending on your business, the ideal unit size will vary. Some retailers are able to operate in very small stores, whilst others need a lot more space. This is dependent on what products and services you offer. When choosing an ideal property, make sure you ask yourself how much space is required, both front and back-of-house.

Some businesses will require outdoor space, such as seating areas or loading bays, as well as parking. It’s always important to consider the space around a unit, and not just the unit itself. The use of outdoor space is usually monitored by local authorities, so make sure you have the right licences.

Another thing to consider is how long you want to set up shop for. Many small retailers are turning to the pop-up format due to its flexibility and affordability. It’s also a great way to test the waters to see how your business performs in a bricks-and-mortar retail environment.

However, you may want to take on a longer-term lease. Hiring a commercial property agent will go a long way in ensuring that you have the right lease on good terms. Their expertise can also be invaluable in ensuring your business has the space and amenities it requires.

The costs of retail property

Of course, with many things in life, taking on a property for your business costs money, that’s why finding a property within your budget is so important.

You have to consider the price of rent and business rates. This will vary depending on the size and location of the property. Big cities – London being the glaring example – will often be at the more expensive end of the scale. Business rates – which are used to fund local services – are roughly around 50% of rent, so must certainly be taken into account when calculating costs.

You’ll also have to consider the costs of services and utilities, such as water, electricity, and high-speed internet.

That’s why it’s important to know your budget. Putting together a business plan can help you avoid any nasty surprises down the road.

There are also a number of options when it comes to getting financial help, such as securing investment or taking out a business loan. These can help alleviate the costs of business and be repaid as money comes in.

You can read more on the costs of opening a shop here.

Where to look to find the right retail property

GaudiLab /

Completely Retail is the UK’s leading retail property listing site, with over 120,000 monthly users. We have supported the UK’s retail and leisure industry since our founding in 2008. Our team has over 20 years of experience in real estate marketing and a passion for the retail industry.

We are focused on connecting people actively seeking retail and leisure space with agents and landlords. If you are a retailer, why not check out shops to rent on Completely Retail to find your ideal property?


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