Space allocation is usually explained through the use of optimization models. This study examines the perceptions of experienced managers in major UK grocery retailers relating to effective space utilization. From the literature, initial telephone survey and interviews, 48 variables relating to the same issue were identified. These then formed the basis of a questionnaire, which was postally administered to managers within the space planning function in six of the UK’s largest grocery retailers. Thirty completed questionnaires were returned. Principal components analysis was used to explore interrelationships among the variables. Of the 48 variables 18 were identified as most important. The 18 variables accounted for over 80 per cent of the total variance. These variables were associated with six underlying components. These six components (and the associated variable scores) were then examined using structural equation modelling. An SEM model was developed with a combined goodness of fit index of 0.85. The developed model is very different from the relations posited in existing space planning systems.
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