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Real Lead

Due to an increasing number of malls and large-scale retail outlets across most metropolitan cities, Pakistan’s retail industry has witnessed a growth of 35 to 40% in the last decade. Consequently, in order to maximise customer footfall and sales, retail spaces are increasingly being designed with an added emphasis on ease, functionality and ambience. 

Here are some of the recent retail design trends that are gaining traction in Pakistan: 

  • Entrances and exits are at least three feet wide to allow shopping trolleys, strollers and wheelchairs to pass through easily; ramps are added to increase accessibility. Similarly, the width of shopping aisles is increasing – from two to four feet.
  • Split level floor plans are becoming commonplace, creating a multi storied environment that maximises the space’s covered area.
  • Checkout counters are moving away from their traditional spot near the main entrance to the store’s centre; this prevents congestion between customers entering the store and those waiting to pay.
  • To optimise space utilisation, hanging shelves are being added for lightweight products while display shelves and stands have become shorter in length (averaging five feet), with open spaces in between. This not only creates attractive displays but allows cross-shelf viewing, thereby increasing the number of products customers can view.
  • ‘Green’ elements, including skylights, solar panels, indoor plants, automatic water dispensers and shut-off lighting systems are becoming popular.
  • Vibrant colours mixed with natural earthy tones – including chocolate, cobalt, coffee, fuchsia, rust and yellow – are used for interiors to make stores inviting, while stone and concrete floors are being installed to prevent skidding.
  • Floor plans with designated play areas to keep children entertained while their parents shop, in addition to food corners (offering coffee, tea and snacks) are being added.

– Saira Qamar                                                                                                         The writer is co-founder and principal architect at Asthetix.

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 7, 2014.