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Retail Petco Stores

Redesigned Petco store sparkles with new lighting system

Petco wants its customers—pet owners—to have fun when they shop at its Lake Forest, California “big box” store, located near Los Angeles. To this end, the new Millennium design store offers a number of unusual amenities including a doggie treat salad bar shaped like a dog bone and a tubular playground for small animals, such as hamsters. Reptiles crawl through a rock cave formation and birds perch on the limbs of giant tree trunks.

“Petco encourages customers not only to visit the store but to bring their pets and spend some time,” said Perry Kotick, senior lighting engineer, Retail Planning Associates, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, who designed the lighting for the new store. “The facility had to look as bright and inviting as possible so that people want to stay as long as they can.”

In redesigning the store, the goal was to move away from Petco’s former warehouse-type look and create a space that is more experiential. The 10,000-square-foot facility is rectangular-shaped and located in a strip-type shopping center.

Part of the new design involved removing the existing 2’ X 4’ fluorescent lighting system and replacing it with OG Series open specular recessed 1’ x 4’ fluorescent troffers from Holophane with T8 lamps. Kotick indicated that Holophane is the only lighting manufacturer that makes this type of fixture with a variety of specular reflector shapes and distributions.

Two different types of reflectors are utilized—one for general task lighting and the other for perimeter illumination. For task lighting, the reflector concentrates the light downward, providing higher levels of illumination on products stored on the floor and up to eight feet.

“This is especially important in the back of the store, which had been a problem in the past,” Kotick said. “Petco drives traffic to this area by selling pet food, stacked on taller gondolas. The previous lighting system did a good job of lighting the top third of the higher pallet racks, but the lower areas were very dark. With the more focused Holophane lighting, the back of the store is as bright as any other area.”

Luminaires used for perimeter lighting have an asymmetric pattern that concentrates the light at a 30° angle. According to Kotick, the brighter perimeter walls tend to encourage people to shop the entire store.

“Retailers typically create traffic patterns within their facilities,” said Kotick. “When they install lighting along the perimeter, the illumination pulls people off the normal paths and invites them to shop in other areas.”

Energy was a primary consideration during the project not only because of California’s strict energy requirements but management’s desire to significantly boost the illumination levels without increasing energy usage. The OG Series luminaires provide 30% greater light levels as the previous fixtures and use the same amount of energy.

Illumination levels within the store—including the horizontal levels—average 120 footcandles, with vertical illumination at 80 footcandles. Vertical illumination with the previous lighting system was less than 50 footcandles and horizontal levels averaged 90 footcandles.

“Using the OG Series luminaires with a specular reflector allowed us to direct the beam of light, rather than just diffuse it” said Kotick. “The result is lighting _ that creates a certain sparkle and emphasizes texture—benefits that were almost impossible to achieve with a fluorescent system in the past.”

Kotick said the lighting system also draws patrons into the store after dark. The Petco location includes a large plate glass window that extends across the front of the store, which is 80 feet wide. When people walk or drive past, the store is “like a beacon at night.”

The new fluorescent system is illuminated about 80 hours a week, with a manual switch controlling the fixtures. Since the OG Series luminaires have an open bottom, the lamps can be easily removed and replaced.

“We have heard nothing but praise from senior level management,” said Kotick. “Everyone likes the fact that the lighting system creates a bright environment without glare. Even though customers can look up and see the lamp, the brightness is not offensive because the specular reflector eliminates glare at most angles.”

Petco is using the Lake Forest store as a prototype, and is currently expanding to other sites

“Like the OG series, the IW Series luminaires use reflectors that provide _ different lighting patterns while the fixtures look the same,” said Kotick. “The advantage is that the IW series can be suspended, thus Petco can easily roll out the concept to open ceiling environments.”

Petco is a national pet supply chain headquartered in San Diego. RPA is a leading strategic retail design firm based in Columbus.


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