Comparing two supermarket layouts: The effect of a middle aisle on basket size, spend, trip duration and endcap use

Bill Page, Giang Trinh, Svetlana Bogomolova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to empirically establish the effectiveness of a supermarket layout with a middle aisle splitting all other aisles, compared to a ‘traditional’ layout (without a middle aisle). Two supermarkets in Australia were matched by size, turnover, population/location, and general layout, except that Store 2 had a middle aisle. The research aims to: (1) explore the shopper traffic entering and existing the middle aisle, and interaction with endcap promotions (which have effectively been doubled by the creation of the middle aisle in Store 2), and (2) compare the two stores based on basket size (in items and dollars) and trip duration. These are typical supermarket metrics, which might differ due to increased opportunities for impulse purchases from the extra endcap displays in the middle aisle. Despite the middle aisle, results show that all performance metrics are almost identical between the two stores on the overall level. However, the store containing the middle aisle sees a higher proportion of trips for under 15 items. Overall use of promotional ends of aisles is the same across both stores, meaning that the use of each endcap is effectively halved. This means that the presence of a middle aisle does not bring any additional value in terms of making the store easier or quicker to navigate. It may provide additional benefits to retailers in terms of giving more promotional space to manufacturers, at the expense of making each endcap half as likely to generate interest. Our additional analysis of the traffic flow near the endcaps suggests that, in most occasions, shoppers pass through the aisle as if there was no break. These results are useful insights to retailers considering remodeling an existing store and manufactures buying endcap space in a store with a middle aisle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Basket size
  • Store layout
  • Supermarket layout
  • Trip duration


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