Shoppers Notice Lighting

Over- And Under-Lighting Source: Chain Store Age /Leo J. Shapiro & Associates

Barbara Greenberg and Alan Gilbert used to do most of their grocery shopping at a Safeway near their Tucson, Ariz., home. But after Safeway remodeled the unit into one of its more fashionable Lifestyle stores, the sixty-ish couple found themselves shopping more frequently at a Bashas’ several miles away. “The store is just too dark,” complained Greenberg as she stood in the Safeway produce section with spotlighting on the merchandise but almost no lighting along customer pathways.

Greenberg’s assessment is a common one. Indeed, nearly one in two consumers, 48%, can think of stores they shop in that do not have enough light, according to a new Chain Store Age/Leo J. Shapiro & Associates study of retail lighting, fitting rooms and flooring.

Interestingly, more people, by an 18% to 11% margin, think food-store lighting is too bright than too dim, the study of 813 households nationwide found.

One in five shoppers (21%) believe lighting is too dark in apparel stores, while 18% hold similar thoughts about lighting in home improvement stores and warehouse clubs.

Bright lights bothered 21% of shoppers at Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart.

Drug stores seem to please most shoppers, with just 7% complaining about stores that are too bright and 2% saying they were too dark.

Poor lighting has its greatest impact upon consumers who purchase products based on color. One-third (35%) complained that colors of items they purchased didn’t look the same at home as they did in the store.

Another 26% said the lighting was not bright enough to permit them to read packages, including instructions or ingredients, while 21% said they could not read the price.

The data is from a February 2007 national sample telephone survey of 813 consumers age 16 or older. It is part of an ongoing series of consumer studies conducted by Chain Store Age and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates, Chicago.

The full 59-page study of lighting, fitting rooms and floors is available at

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