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What Should Your Sales Be?

Thinking about opening a new store? Wondering what your sales might be?

Here is the easiest method for estimating expected sales:

Market Potential
First find out how much business can potentially be done in your market. To do this you only need to find the national sales figures for your industry (note: for some industries this is easier said than done).

Take that national sales figure and divide it by the US population. That gives you sales per person.

$22.1 billion divided by 308 million people = $72
Then simply multiply that result times the number of people in your expected trade area.
$72 x 150,000 people = $10.8 million
Now you know what the Market Potential is. Your expected sales will most likely start in the 3-5% range, maybe higher if there is no indie competition, maybe lower if there is indie competition or you are saturated with highly effective big box stores.
What Size Store?
From this figure you can get a good estimate of how big a store to build. You just need two numbers… Lease Rates in your area and/or Sales per Square Foot for your industry.
Lease Rates: To be profitable you have to be working for yourself and not the landlord. If the rent for the year is more than 10% of your expected sales, you’re working for them, not you. You basically have three options:
  1. Look for a smaller space
  2. Look for a cheaper space
  3. Look for a different market
But be careful of those three options. The cheaper space is usually in a bad location and retail , like real estate, is all about location, location, location. The smaller space might work, if you have room to show enough product to justify the sales.
That is why knowing the sales per square foot for your industry is helpful. Let’s say your Expected Sales are $500,000. If your industry average for sales per square foot is $200, then a 2500 sq ft store should work fine. Only lease a bigger store if it is both affordable and in a great location.
Everyone thinks your store “would be great in our neighborhood.” Yes, great for them. Do the math and you’ll know if it will be great for you, too.

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