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8 Rules to Figure Layout

With a clean fixture layout, your store will look organized, and the merchandise will be the star.




YOUR MERCHANDISING FIXTURE placement is critical. A well-thought-out plan will make your store easier to shop and create a clean, organized look. Use these basic rules of thumb when assessing your own sales floor layout.

Lay out fixtures on a grid pattern, with each fixture at the same angle. There should be a minimum of 4 feet between each. Think in terms of getting a double stroller through. You want a 6-foot diameter space at the entrance to the store to serve as a decompression zone. The customer can stop and see the whole store before deciding which direction to go. And main aisles should be about 6 feet wide.

Use fixtures that are about 4-1/2 feet tall. The merchandise should not protrude above the top. Simple displays or signs can be an exception to this, but don’t obscure the view of one fixture by blocking it with another.

Fixtures that are too close together or randomly organized create a claustrophobic environment. Not only is it unpleasant for the customer, but it will also affect sales.

People need to be able to see everything on a fixture without bending down.

If fixtures are too close to walls, it will make customers shop the fixtures, instead of the walls. And walls are more important, as they house more product and create much larger merchandise groups, or stories.


Fixtures are something to spend a little money on. The nicer the fixture, the nicer your product will look. And you want to look different from the big-box stores, even though many of the products may be the same.

White fixtures are common, but I prefer light wood looks. They create a warmer environment and are still neutral.

Use vendor fixtures when absolutely necessary, but generally you want to avoid them because you should be reinforcing your own brand. Only use them for products that don’t merchandise well on your standard fixtures. Bookrack spinners are a good example of this, as they house a lot of product in a small amount of space.

Think of your fixtures as a canvas for your merchandise. With a clean fixture layout, your store will look organized, and the merchandise will be the star.

Tom Crossman has designed entertainment centers and retail stores for FAO Schwarz, Dollywood and Toys ‘R’ Us. He was a featured speaker at Global Pet Expo in 2018. His work can be seen at, and he can be reached at






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