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Retail Centre Boundaries and Open Indicators

The CDRC Retail Centre Boundaries are an openly available suite of data products representing the location, extent and function of retail agglomeration areas across the UK. The product contains multiple files to describe the spatial boundaries, catchment zones, local open indicators and a retail typology.

Retail Centre Boundaries

Boundaries are delineated using openly available and geocoded retail-specific unit locations and land use. Self-contained tracts of consistently-sized hexagon geometries are overlaid on retail clusters, with an algorithmic fine-tuning based on absolute sizes and densities.

A hierarchical classification based on retail count, density and ranking within the respective local area serves to identify the prominence of each retail centre and captures variation between regional centres, market towns, small local centres, shopping centres and retail outlets (among 11 classification tiers).

Retail Centre Catchments

The CDRC Retail Centre Catchments are presented for drive-time and walking-time distances from the centre of each retail centre not classified as “Small Local Centres”. The drive/walking time distances vary according to the hierarchical classification of the retail centres. These distances are as follows:

Retail Centre Type Drive Time Walk Time
Regional centre
Large shopping centre
20 mins 15 mins
Major town centre 15 mins 15 mins
Large retail park
Small shopping centre
15 mins 10 mins
Town centre 10 mins 15 mins
Small retail park 10 mins 10 mins
District centre
Market town
Local centre
5 mins 5 mins

Retail Centre Indicators

Aggregate indicators are generated for the largest retail centres in the UK - those with an underlying retail count of at least 50 units. Indicators for these retail centres are developed from multiple data sources, focusing on their composition, diversity, vacancy, material deprivation and e-resilience, which are useful to better understand the characteristics and economic performance of the retail centres in the UK.

A series of indicators have been developed based on openly available data, and are available for download below. Additional indicators are available as a safeguarded data product ( with information on shop vacancies, shop types, composition and diversity.

Openly available indicators for retail centres include measures of:

  • Online Exposure
  • Vulnerability
  • E-resilience (as derived from the above Online Exposure and Vulnerability Indices)
  • Clone Town Measures
  • Deprivation Profiles

The Deprivation Profiles combine national deprivation indices (Index of Multiple Deprivation) to provide, for each retail centre, a series of measures that summarise the relative deprivation of their associated drive/walking time catchments.

The following statement should be included when citing the use of this dataset:

“The data for this research have been provided by the Consumer Data Research Centre, an ESRC data investment, under project ID CDRC 498-01, ES/L011840/1; ES/L011891/1”.

University of Liverpool
Additional Info: 

Data and Resources

Release Date
login required
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
United Kingdom
Temporal Coverage
January 2022 to August 2022
Retail Centre
Alex Singleton; Les Dolega; Jacob Macdonald; Patrick Ballantyne
Contact Email
POLYGON ((-8.9948498999 49.688302644, 2.0867431164 49.688302644, 2.0867431164 61.0684288668, -8.9948498999 61.0684288668, -8.9948498999 49.688302644))
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

Data Extent


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)