Set up new consumer and retail premises

Finding the perfect location is vital in getting customers through the door.

Type of space

Having a clear list of what you will use the premises for can help speed up your search. It will also ensure that you choose the right amount of space for your needs. You should also consider any future changes you may have planned.

Research the location

Location is key when looking for a retail premises and getting customers to you. If your products are targeted at a particular demographic, you should ensure there is enough footfall in the location you choose. For example, if you are selling expensive designer goods, you may be more successful if you are based in an affluent area. Or if you are selling work tools, an industrial area may be better than a high street shop.

Get location-based demographics data on the Office for National Statistics website.

Your budget

Before you start looking for a premises, you should work out how much you can afford.

The rent for retail space is not the only cost to factor in, other costs will include business rates and energy bills.

Find out more about business rates on GOV.UK.

Find out if you will be eligible for business rates discount on GOV.UK.

Find retail space

You can find and compare prices on commercial property search engines such as Estates Gazette.

You might also want to consider a temporary pop-up retail space to test demand and generate awareness of your business.

Use the websites of matchmaking services like Storefront to find and book pop-up spaces.

There can be a lot of competition for sites in areas with high footfall. To secure a site, you will need to position yourself as a credible investor to landlords. You can do this by:

Planning permission

If you're building or extending premises in the UK, you'll usually need to submit a planning application. Permission to carry out the work is granted by a planning authority at local government level.

Depending on your business activities, you may also need an environmental permit. You can apply for this at the same time as a planning application.

A decision is made on most planning applications within 8 weeks. For unusually large or complex projects the time limit for a decision is 13 weeks.

Find out more about planning applications and who to apply to on GOV.UK

Check if you need an environmental permit and who to apply to on GOV.UK


Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply and where you can access planning, infrastructure and innovation support from the UK government.

Freeports can provide an invaluable opportunity for leisure and hospitality businesses who can create a destination for both business and leisure travellers. You can also access a wide range of customs and tax benefits by expanding your business within a UK Freeport.

Find out more about UK Freeports on GOV.UK.


If you are intending to sell food and alcoholic drink products, you will need to register with the local authority and obtain an alcohol license.

Register your food business on GOV.UK.

Guidance on applying for an alcohol license on GOV.UK.

Next steps

The nations and regions of the UK have a network of private-public partnership bodies that look after local economic development. These bodies may be able to support you with finding the most suitable location for your premises.


Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hubs support businesses across England. Find links on the Growth Hub network listing.

UK nations

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland manage their programmes for business support, funding and finance in their areas.

More information on the programmes’ websites:

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