In our work designing shops for fashion retailers we are always striving to achieve the delicate balance between;
- providing enough display space to merchandise the desired range of stock, and
- keeping enough breathing space to create the right selling environment.
Along the way we often find ourselves discussing linear conversion figures of 10%, 20% etc.
But what does this mean and can retailers really compare themselves to their peers using this figure?
When to use Linear Conversion in Retail Design
It is clearly important for retailers to be able to show their ranges in the least possible space but at the same time create the right ambience to match the aspirations of the brand.
Too much stock density and you create an image of cheapness, too little and you have the opposite effect.
That’s where Linear Conversion comes in.
How do you calculate Linear Conversion?
Unfortunately for the younger reader, the figures are calculated in Imperial measures and using Metric measures will result in different results.
Yes it’s true the calculation is mathematically challenged, but it has become industry standard!
Simply put the formula is
Linear capacity in feet
Net sales area in sq ft
Understanding Linear Conversion
To understand Linear Conversion we first need two common definitions. A common misconception is that linear capacity is a measure of wall space and another that it records the number of garments on display.
In reality when talking of linear capacity we are referring to the amount of space available to hang product from.
Think of a 2 gallon bucket. If you have 2 buckets you have a capacity to carry 4 gallons regardless of whether the buckets are beside each other or on shelves.
Take a simple example of a 2ft wide D bar. In a typical 2ft wide wall bay you might have 1 D bar, 2 D bars, 3 D bars etc. 2ft of wall bay could therefore provide 6ft of linear capacity if 3 bars were used. Once you have counted up the total amount of hanging space you have your linear capacity figure.
This also needs attention as not all retailers measure space in the same way. The majority agree that the net square footage of a shop includes everything forward of the door to the back of house, including fit rooms, window beds and till area i.e. the total selling space.
A quick guide
So in a typical 2000sqft shop,
- with single hanging around the perimeter and a spacious layout this will achieve an 8-10% conversion
- with double hanging and more dense interior this will achieve around 20% conversion.
If you would like to use our expertise or to clarify any points raised in this article, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.