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Retail geography

Statistics Sweden presents new statistics on retail trade areas

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2018-11-16 9.30

There were 560 retail trade areas in Sweden in 2015. The retail trade areas comprised almost 17 000 workplaces, where more than 150 000 persons in total worked. This is the outcome of the new geographical delimitations of retail trade areas, now published by Statistics Sweden.

Statistics Sweden has developed retail trade areas that show the location of concentrations of retail trade in Sweden, the number of people who work in the retail trade areas and the number of enterprises.

Retail trade areas in Sweden, 2015, by county and national level
County Number of retail trade areas Number of workplaces Number of employees
Stockholm County 97 4 142 40 900
Uppsala County 14 475 5 100
Södermanland County 17 428 3 450
Östergötland County 25 722 6 250
Jönköping County 23 553 4 550
Kronoberg County 14 315 2 850
Kalmar County 20 462 3 750
Gotland County 4 94 850
Blekinge County 8 255 1 700
Skåne County 78 2 413 19 900
Halland County 19 556 6 050
Västra Götaland County 95 2 544 23 350
Värmland County 27 541 4 850
Örebro County 12 421 3 600
Västmanland County 13 432 4 000
Dalarna County 20 459 4 550
Gävleborg County 20 449 3 750
Västernorrland County 11 407 3 400
Jämtland County 8 176 1 500
Västerbotten County 17 406 3 800
Norrbotten County 18 459 3 900
Entire country 560 16 709 152 050

Source: Statistics Sweden


Retail trade areas represent a large share of the area in Sweden where retail trade is located, although they account for a very small overall share of Sweden’s land area – less than 0.1 percent. Stockholm, Skåne, and Halland are the only counties in which retail trade areas exceed 0.1 percent of the land area, with 0.2 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. However, retail trade areas exceed more than 0.5 percent of the total land area in twelve Swedish municipalities. Eight of these municipalities are located in the Stockholm area, three are located in Skåne and one is in Gothenburg.

In 47 out of Sweden’s 290 municipalities there were no retail trade areas at all. This corresponds to 16 percent of all municipalities in Sweden.

The three metropolitan counties – Stockholm, Västra Götaland, and Skåne – easily host most workplaces per retail trade area. Gotland and Jämtland counties host the smallest number of workplaces per retail trade area.

In total, 152 000 persons working with retail trade were employed in retail trade areas in Sweden in 2015 (99 percent of them were situated in a locality). More than half of them worked in one of the three metropolitan counties - Stockholm, Västra Götaland, or Skåne.

Nearly all retail trade areas are situated in localities

Retail trade areas in Sweden are generally situated in localities, which is where the bulk of the population lives. Retail trade areas comprise 1.1 percent of the total area of Sweden’s localities.

Retail trade areas – a way to measure the progress of retail trade

Statistics Sweden’s retail trade areas are geographical areas that consist of either at least five retail trade enterprises within a limited distance, or four retail trade enterprises that together have at least 100 employees. Retail trade areas can consist of areas with retail trade in central parts of a town and peripheral retail trade at shopping centres and other trading venues. The 2015 retail trade areas were produced in an automated process, which means that all retail trade areas have been delimited in a systematic and comparable way.

Statistics has been produced based on data on retail trade enterprises included in the retail trade areas and that can be used as a basis for analyses of the progress of retail trade in Sweden. The statistics can form the basis for physical planning and monitoring the progress of the geographical pattern of retail trade over time. One aspect enabled by retail trade areas regarding the progress of retail trade is the study of ongoing structural change over time, in which trade is concentrated to fewer, but larger, trade venues, and where some physical retail trade transitions to online trade.

Definitions and explanations

From 2015 onwards, retail trade areas consist of a concentration of workplaces with the SNI code 47 Retail trade, that together form a geographically delimited area, consisting of:

  1. at least five retail trade enterprises, or
  2. four retail trade enterprises, together having at least 100 employees.


This report is published in more detail in the Statistical Report expected to be available on Statistics Sweden’s website on 2018-11-20.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

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