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How to save money on fixtures for your newsagency or any retail business

First up: spend as little as possible with a shopfitter, preferably nothing. Shopfitters only make money from shopfits. What they make is purpose built and, naturally expensive.

Besides the people who work in the business, your products are what matter the most. People notice the products more than the fixtures. Shopfitters will tell you something different, of course.

Years ago, it was common for newsagents to spend $1,500 and more per square metre of leased retail space, and we would do this for fixtures made for the business. magazine specific fixtures, card specific fixtures. There was plenty of noise that the shift made the business, set the business for success. Some groups considered their shopfit to be valuable intellectual property. Even if that was true, it’s not true today.

Today, retail is about the feeling of the shop and nothing achieves feeling like furniture items that look everyday. Even better if they have some scars that bring some lived history to the shop. Indeed, some of the best fixtures I have seen have been found on the side of the road, at an old farm or in an op. shop.

The more fixtures in your shop the are sourced from these everyday situations, the lower the cost of fitting your shop.

Take this table and bench set. It costs only $179 from Fantastic Furniture. I suspect there may be secondhand ones out there for less and other pliers with similar for less.

It’s tremendously flexible. Here it is in the window of one of my shops right now.

The table and benches work hosting these ducks.

The best advice I can provide when it comes to shoplifting in a newsagency or and local retail business is to be frugal.

  • Pre-loved is loved: Look for second-hand furniture and fixtures at op. shops,  garage sales, or online marketplaces.
  • Upcycle & Repurpose: Get creative! Old pallets can become shelving, crates can be turned into displays, and pipes can make clothing racks.
  • Think Multi-Functional: Invest in furniture that serves multiple purposes, like ottomans with storage or tables with built-in displays.
  • Buy off the shelf rather than purpose built every time you can. This is the best way to save money.

There are some in our channel who boast about their shopfit, what it cost, what is unique about it. I suspect if they were as open about the financial performance of their business few of the boasters would have must to boast about.

While there are parts of the business over which you have control, like lotteries, there is plenty over which you do have control. Don’t overthink it. If you fit out frugally the cost pot changing your approach is not that much. Also, being able to financially justify constant change can help give the business a feel of regular change, which is good.

Oh, and if you really do need something made specifically for your shop, consider a local handyman (person) as they are likely to cost less.

Anything you spend on fittings or furniture for your shop needs to be fully recouped from sales in absolutely no more than three years, preferably less.

Newsagency management

Join the discussion

  1. Peter

    It took me many years and two major shoo fitouts to learn this lesson for myself. I wasted hundreds of thousands listening to so called experts who I discovered later had a finger in the pie so to speak.


  2. Michael

    There was a newsagent near newcastle years ago who had the best newsagent fitout ever made. It cost north of three hundred thousand dollars. The shop fitter would take people there as part of their sales pitch. People loved that it looked so good. No one to my knowledge looked at the performance of the fitout financially. The business was closed three years later.


  3. David

    My advice to anyone in their first newsagency business is to heed this advice. I spent too much money on my fitout believing the spin from the company. I wish I knew then what is in this advice.


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