Retail Market Analysis

Given the diverse backgrounds of PLACE team members and our past work managing business districts ourselves, we relish the opportunity to help shape commercial area strategies through our retail market analysis work. Exploring the potential of and opportunities within today’s dynamic retail marketplace – both physical and virtual – grows from an initial analysis of a variety of secondary data sources utilizing national data bases. That is the “science” of it – collecting numbers, projecting trends, and quantifying market opportunities.

However, great business districts are not born out of the numbers alone. There is an “art” to the PLACE market analysis also.

PLACE complements the typical data sources with input from local experts and stakeholders who interact with a district on a day-to-day basis – whether it be as they run their businesses, lease their properties, or just walk their dog. We strive to collect the “story” behind the numbers - why retail spending may be declining, where local residents do go to shop, what it is that motivates “locals” to shop in their backyard vs. the next block over vs. a neighborhood community. We also aim to paint a picture of the opportunity and the aspirations of the community and wed those dreams to market conditions by identifying potential new tenants, programs or incentives that can boost the market, physical enhancements, and branding opportunities that will position a business district for success.

West Town Retail Market Analysis
West Town Neighborhood, Chicago, IL
Completed 2016

PLACE Consulting completed a retail market study to develop strategies to support retail establishments within the West Town Chamber of Commerce’s service area. As part of the study, more detailed information was analyzed for three sub-areas of the Chamber service area in order to identify distinctions between three diverse neighborhoods.  PLACE compared the Chamber service area to internal sub-areas to the City of Chicago and the greater West Town community area. 

These comparisons were performed by analyzing historic, current, and future demographic data, current consumer retail supply and demand expenditures, and recent West Town community engagement studies, in addition to canvassing the Chamber service area.  Based on this analysis, PLACE was able to identify a series of important trends and make key recommendations that will allow the West Town Chamber of Commerce to capitalize on these conditions

Loyola University Chicago
Completed 2015

PLACE assisted Loyola University Chicago (LUC) with developing strategies for economic development and community revitalization surrounding its Lakeshore Campus. This effort was intended to assist with recruitment of tenants for LUC’s own retail spaces. Focus was placed on gathering information in areas radiating out from the campus in order to identify changes in neighborhood characteristics that could help shape university-driven community improvement activities

The process developed by PLACE used both qualitative and quantitative information to identify opportunities and desires. A variety of information including demographic data, university information, business owner input, psychographic market segmentation, and extensive intercept and online surveying was gathered, analyzed, compared/contrasted and then woven together to result in a current and comprehensive look at the area surrounding LUC’s Lakeshore Campus. This information and the process resulted in eight key recommendations that LUC could undertake in order to catalyze retail development in the area.

The information-gathering that led to the recommendations produced a map of the neighborhood marketplace and distinctive sub-areas within it, including demographic and psychographic descriptions of the population. A Development Framework diagram was also developed by PLACE to illustrate how investment activity could be organized.