Retail Recovery to Get Your Store Ready for Customers

Women shopping at retails store
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Zoning, recovery, straightening -- call it what you will -- is simply the act of getting a retail store ready for customers. It is the combination of several processes to make the store looks great, and it should be done on a daily basis.

Store recovery is a continual process but the majority of it should be done either just before closing or opening of the store. While part of store recovery can be started during store hours, retailers may find it easier to be done with the doors locked. This way the staff can safely complete their tasks without interfering with shoppers. Make your store recovery go by quickly and efficiently with the following tips.

Cash and Wrap Area

This is the place where customers are most likely to receive their last impression of the store. It is also where the money is taken and should always be kept neat and orderly.

  • Refill bag areas at the checkouts.
  • Any merchandise in the register area should be restocked to the correct location on the sales floor.
  • Clean doors, glass cases, register stands and any other surfaces the customer may come in contact.
  • Sweep and/or vacuum entryway, including mats.

Retail Sales Floor

By straightening items in your selling area, you're not only giving our store a neat, full appearance, you are also deterring theft. When a shoplifter opens a package and takes the merchandise, he/she generally discard the packaging in the first available empty space. Filling those spaces during our store recovery will add a few more seconds to the shoplifter's act and hopefully give the employee more time to catch the thief.

  • Fill up empty spaces with overstock and back-stock.
  • Straighten all merchandise on the sales floor. Bring all products to the front edge of the shelf or move peg hook items forward to maintain a full appearance. Use both hands as you move along straightening each item.
  • Don't stop what you’re doing to return misshelved items. Collect the merchandise in a shopping basket or cart and return each item to its correct location as you move around the store.
  • Collect any damaged or opened packaging, and other trash, that has been discarded.
  • Check expiration dates on perishables and other consumable items.
  • Check all signage and replace any missing tags, labels or signs.
  • Dust the tops of racks, cases and other fixtures with a clean dust rag.
  • Don’t forget to clean the base shelves and the bottom of fixtures.
  • Sweep the aisles, vacuum carpet, and mop the floor.

Stock Room

We all get busy taking care of business and may easily neglect this area of the retail store. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. The time to pay attention to the stock room is during store recovery.

  • Clear work areas, empty trash cans, and dispose of empty boxes.
  • Work out any merchandise in the stock room to the correct location on the sales floor if possible.
  • Organize hangers, pricing guns, tagging guns, and all other store supplies.
  • Keep emergency exits free of clutter.


Because this location is usually out of sight from the customer, retailers may neglect this area as well. Plan a few minutes in the store recovery process to clean up the office.

  • Secure deposits, petty cash, and any other monies.
  • File invoices, receipts, bills of lading along with all other paperwork for the day.
  • Create computer backups, if necessary.

Other Areas for Recovery

Store recovery should also include cleaning areas such as restrooms (really important), the break room and fitting rooms. There should be no merchandise any of these areas and each area should be spotless. Remember, the bathroom is not an extra storage space. 

The time spent on store recovery will vary by the size of the retail store and the number of employees. Keep a checklist of the process handy to make sure each area has been completed. In my stores, we assigned a section of the store to each employee. It was his or her responsibility to keep it ready to sell at all times. Remember, the more often store recovery is done, the less there is to do.