retail snapshot|Study gives picturer of area’s sales opportunities

Published 7:03 pm Monday, July 6, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

Nearly time you shop, many stores collect data on where you live and what you bought.
A retail study of the Brewton area combines that data with other demographic information to give a better picture of the types of retail that area thriving here — and the potential stores that would also perform well in the community.
The Community ID study done by Texas-based Buxton, a company known for its expertise in customer analytics.
Brewton officials asked Buxton to examine the retail potential for a site on U.S. 31 North.
The study found that the site:
The study measures the retail “leakage” and surplus for a number of different types of retail, from groceries to electronics.
According to Buxton, retail leakage means that “residents are spending more for products than local businesses capture.”
The study found leakage occurring in several categories including furniture and home furnishings; electronics and appliances; clothing and clothing accessories; food services; and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
But the study cautions that leakage does not necessarily mean opportunity. For example, if a nearby community has a strong competitor in that retail category, that store could dominate the market.
Retail surplus, as defined by Buxton, means that the trade area is attracting non-local shoppers in addition to the local market. But, again, Buxton said retail surplus does not mean the community cannot support additional businesses in those retail categories.
Among the retail surplus categories in Brewton area motor vehicles and parts dealers; building materials and garden equipment; food and beverage stores; and general merchandise stores.
Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority President Wiley Blankenship said the study, which also includes demographic data on the community and an analysis of buying behavior, can give Brewton a leg up in understanding its retail potential.
Brewton Community Development Director Steve Yuhasz said he is using the information from the Buxton study to target particular retailers, including shoe stores and restaurants.

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