Applying demographic analysis to store site selection

by Peter A. Morrison, Allan Abrahamse

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This case study illustrates how applied demographic analysis can help structure business decisionmaking. The authors screened every one of several thousand square miles within metropolitan Southern California to identify the 10 best locations for a large supermarket catering to one-stop shoppers. Locations were selected based on potential sales volume (irrespective of nearby competitors), future stability of the resident consumer base, and specific demographic factors likely to enhance sales potential among target shoppers (e.g., dual-earner families). The client placed as much importance on how the results were derived as on the authors' recommendations. As a result, the authors' analytic framework for comparing high-potential locations played a central role in structuring the client's thinking. This framework, together with the empirical analysis, illustrate how applied demographers can operationalize business questions about consumer markets and guide a client toward a more systematic way of reaching decisions.

Originally published in: Population Research and Policy Review, v. 15, December 1996, pp. 479-489.

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