Retail Design – What’s in Store for ’24?

It goes without saying that the retail industry is a vast landscape that covers everything from one-off stores, to chains, franchisees, and licensees. With such a big industry, trend forecasting happens within the category sub-sectors, driven by customer needs and expectations, and the pop-culture they bounce off.

Looking at the Sportswear, Luxury and Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) sectors, there are clear trends we’re seeing on the horizon of 2024 that will shape retail design in the coming years.


Historically, sportswear stores have taken their design inspiration from the old-school gyms and sports fields their products are designed to be worn on. For decades we’ve seen grungy interiors, complete with cyclone wire panelling, heavy-set steel framed shelving, and blacked-out ceilings throughout sports brand and sports department stores.

Possibly because brands are looking to appeal more to both men and women, or because we’re seeing an unprecedented increase in women’s professional sports leagues around the world, sports stores are evolving. These darker and grittier store interiors are being left behind in favour of more neutral, pale palettes.

We’re seeing more blonde timbers, in raw form, veneer and plyboard. To compliment these paler tones, brands will adopt the soft greys of raw and sealed concrete walls and flooring. Coloured accents will be kept to bare minimum to reduce any potential clashing with the brand’s apparel and visual merchandising.


The luxury retail sector has not been immune to the rise and influence of social media. Year on year we’ve seen it become intrinsically linked to pop-culture trends, and we’re seeing this play out in store design direction. There are two distinct styles emerging this year: ‘quiet quality’ and ‘bold and brash’.

Following the success of TV shows like Morning Wars and Succession, fashion has seen a surge in the popularity of Quiet Luxury. Rather than wear garments emblazoned with logos all over it, this fashion trend is about wearing high-end but understated, quality pieces.

These brands show their product’s value with using top quality materials and workmanship in their products, so it makes sense they’ll extend this approach throughout their store design too.

Palettes in this style will be pared back so only the quality shines. Hero details like well-finished shelving units and solid timber panelling will be utilised to communicate the brand’s commitment to quality. Wool or wool-mix carpets with thick underlay will convey to its customers the sense of comfort the brand seeks to deliver. Textured wall finishes in hessian and linen will add subtle detail to store, without screaming for attention.

Then there’s the other side of luxury – brands that are proudly screaming from the rooftops about their latest celebrity collaborations and endorsements. This noise in the market needs to be reflected in store, and brands in this sector are going large with their interior design. Bold monochromatic palettes are being used to wrap stores from the ceiling downwards, and textured textiles like shag pile rugs add another layer of over-the-top detail. Increasing the sparkle is also key here and bevelled edging glazing and crystal chandeliers are on the rise. The trend here is everything to excess, including excess.


Following the covid pandemic and numerous lockdowns in Australia, the QSR sector is feeling the lasting effects throughout their venues’ design and fitouts.

Delivery services that were already growing in popularity before the lockdowns are now a firm fixture of the QSR experience. To ensure the long-term success of add-on delivery services, QSR brands will need to redefine their customer journey according to their distinctly different needs. POS counters will need to be designed to facilitate customers ordering in store. They’ll also need designated areas to serve the steady stream of delivery drivers picking up their orders. Dual counters or separate walk-up counters, that are easily identifiable to both visitors, will play a critical role in reducing wait times for both.

Although we’re officially well past the lockdowns, unfortunately the labour shortage in Australia continues on. Brands are looking for ways to work around staffing issues and are finding solutions by increasing the physical integration of tech devices in store.

QSR venues will need to be planned with provisions to install networked touchscreens that allow customers to order and pay in real-time. To keep the lines of communication open throughout ordering, there will also need to be an increase of live feed digital screens to keep customers up-to-date with where they are in the process.

This will require that stores are designed with clear sightlines so customers can easily see the right screens at the right times. Fixture design will also need to ensure the correct clearances are made to accommodate hardware and cabling requirements.

As the retail experience constantly evolves to serve the customer, it’s always exciting to watch what trends we’ll see next. It’s looking like 2024 will not disappoint.



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