This is driving a rapid increase in the amount of store space across the country, with modern retail stores projected to reach 67,100 by 2016, which will be up from 11,192 in 2006. As stores quickly develop, it’s important that the choice of flooring isn’t overlooked during the design and specification stages – as this could lead to an early floor failure that will turn a clean, on-brand floor into an unhygienic, unsightly and ineffective surface.
There are many flooring choices available to store designers – but some will be more viable than others when factors such as the desired appearance, level of foot traffic and high point loads are taken into account. Even the area of the country, type of store and weather can all have an impact on this decision, for example locations prone to snow or excessive rain will require an easy-to-maintain, hard floor in the entryways at least.
This choice is important because when a customer walks into a fashion store they are presented with a long list of factors that need to work together to automatically create a great first impression – from the products to the staff and from the displays to the interior design scheme.
But this impressive facade cannot be flimsily constructed, as it needs to be maintained in the face of extensive use and the inevitable challenges of a busy commercial environment. Failing to ensure that the surroundings and interiors welcome, encourage and engage shoppers could lead to a variety of unwanted consequences such as a weakening of sales, low levels of customer retention and a poor brand identity.
There are few areas of a store where this is as challenging as the floor, as this aspect of the facility needs to ensure a hygienic, easy to clean and visually appealing finish in the face of high levels of foot traffic, scuffs and abrasions, spillages of food and drink, physical impacts and regular cleaning with corrosive chemicals and hot water.
Some materials, even the more costly ones, are easy to maintain which makes up for their high initial cost by requiring a lower maintenance budget. Other flooring materials are less expensive initially but must be frequently refinished, steam cleaned or stripped and resealed.
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