Retail trade areas – using geodata to measure the development of retail trade

Karin Hedeklint (Statistics Sweden)

Statistics Sweden has developed a new open geodata product called Retail trade areas. It consists of 560 retail trade areas in the form of polygons, created by a combination of different types of geodata and collected from Statistics Sweden, the Swedish mapping agency and the Swedish transport administration.
A retail trade area, according to Statistics Sweden, is a geographic cluster for retail trade which outer boundaries are drawn based on certain criteria such as number of establishments within the retail trade sector, number of employees and distance between the buildings. You find these areas in central parts of towns and cities, as well as in shopping centres that are more peripheral located.
The data was produced in an automated process, where all areas were delimited in a systematic and comparable way. The main input data was Statistics Sweden´s Business register, where every establishment connects to an address coordinate. It was combined with information about buildings, road networks and population. Statistics Sweden distributes the final geodata as open data in GIS formats.
The purpose of the geodata and the statistics is to create a basis for analysis of retail trade in Sweden, with focus on geographical aspects. It may form the basis for physical planning and monitoring of the geographical pattern of retail trade over time. One current aspect is the ongoing structural change, where retail trade is concentrated to fewer and larger trade venues, or where physical establishments turns into online trade.