Space Syntax’s evidence-based approach to retail development helps owners, investors and occupiers in two key areas: first, to understand the performance of existing retail operations and second, to enhance retail success through the careful design of spatial layout and product placement.

At the urban scale, we work with our clients to identify “location value” in terms of the potential for attracting trade at a particular location. We profile development portfolios and advise on the retail offer these will most likely support.

Inside shops and retail centres, we show how space can be designed to influence customer behaviour in terms of movement, product interaction and sales activity.

Client objectives

Return on investment.
Business effectiveness.
Speed of design & planning process.
User wayfinding, comfort & convenience.
Retail performance & revenue growth.
Visitor satisfaction.
Tenant satisfaction & retention.
Organisational character & identity.


Pre-planning & design
Portfolio evaluation: buy/sell/keep/develop.
Growth/downsizing strategy.
Site evaluation & selection.
Building evaluation & selection.
Competitor analysis & precedent studies.
Existing user behaviour analysis.

Planning & design
Critical review of development proposals.
Masterplan design.
Overall building layout design.
Department layout design.
Furniture/display layout design.
User behaviour forecasting.
User group profiling.
Character & identity creation.
Retail & catering strategy.
Wayfinding & signage strategy.
Planning support.
Tenant negotiations.

Post-planning & design
User flow enhancement (signage & wayfinding).
Tenant lease/renewals negotiations.
Performance benchmarking.
Growth & downsizing.


Stage 1  Building Baseline Study

Data collection
Customer flow volume/density
Customer attitudes interviews/questionnaires
Customer purchase patterns
Visitor route choice/object engagement
Rental distribution.

Performance modelling
Location accessibility analysis (public & private transport)
Building layout efficiency
Vertical movement efficiency
Object/display attraction
Departmental structure & location
Movement network capacity
Entrance/exit capacity
Sales density/rental distribution.

Stage 2  Design Strategy

Forecast simulation
Customer flow volume & density
Retail & catering effectiveness.