Average Square Footage and Retail Sales per Square Foot Across Major Brands

Have you ever wondered if an available property in your community was the right size to attract an Apple store or a Cabela’s? Retail data provided publicly through market research firm eMarketer can help answer these questions. The data are aggregated from SEC filings and supplemented with independent research.

Data: Average Square Footage

The following chart lays out the relative sizes of the 39 major retail brands, from Claire’s Stores to Leon’s Furniture. Other brands like Macy's, JC Penney, Home Depot, and Target, typically go as high as 100,000 square feet, on average, and more often serve as anchor institutions and focal points for retail clusters. Given their size, they were omitted to provide more attention to non-anchor retail.

Of course, these values do not hold constant across all communities, but they do give a sense of scale. For example, 11,000 square feet of leasable space could accommodate a somewhat large Williams-Sonoma, or a mildly petite Urban Outfitters. Of course, there is going to be variability in square footage from store to store across each of these brands, but given the large sample size for each brand (no brand has less than 245 separate locations), these values represent a strong trend in size from company to company.

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Data: Average Sales per Square Foot

eMarketer also includes information on sales for major retailers. Our analysts use this data when performing economic and fiscal impact analyses to estimate anticipated retail sales based on the amount of space included in a plan or project.

The graphic below orders each of the select 39 brands by average annual sales per square foot of retail space. Some takeaways are immediately obvious: high-end stores like Tiffany’s and Coach dominate in terms of sales per SF, while discount shops only occasionally scratch the $200-per-square-foot mark. Clothing and shoe brands tend to run the gamut, from just barely $130 per square foot at Dressbarn to over $600 for Fossil and Victoria’s Secret. At the very top of the clothing retail scale sits Lululemon Athletica, known for its yoga-inspired athleticwear, with nearly $1,500 in annual sales per square foot.

Properly assessing the viability of new retail requires a comprehensive approach the looks at not just whether a store could fit into a space, but also if it should go there. Does the local consumer market have the "rooftops" and necessary incomes to support a certain store and, if so, do they sufficiently demand the products that that store will sell? Is the business planning on entering that space in good financial health, or are they showing signs of future financial difficulties?

When it comes to creating a vibrant, robust retail district within the community, knowing how each piece of the puzzle fits together can make or break a new strategy. The eMarketer dataset is a valuable tool for anyone working to grow and support the retail sector.


Methodology Note:

The eMarketer data includes over 200 entries. For this assessment, the following criteria was employed to select the 39 retailers that were assessed:

  • $300 million or more in annual revenues
  • Have a national presence (sorry, Publix)
  • Cater primarily to an American clientele (sorry, PriceSmart and Loblaws).
  • Non-anchor (anchor stores like Macy’s and JC Penney regularly go well above 100,000 square feet of space)
  • Likely to open in downtown districts, malls, or other retail destinations.

In addition to the data shown here, eMarketer also provides high-level company financial and marketing data.

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