What is Shop Shelving?

Shop Shelves and shelving units are the basic retail equipment around which most supermarkets are built.  

In most cases the shop shelving is such a familiar item that most people don't even notice it despite it's importance.  Most retail shelving systems are made of steel which is normally powder coated to a neutral colour such as RAL 9001.  Sometimes a more vivid colour is used for promotional shelving units or for particular products within the store such as wines and spirits for example.

There are two main types of supermarket shelving, single sided shelving mainly used against walls and double sided retail shelving normally called gondola shelving that is free-standing in the centre of the store.  The gondola shelving is normally arranged in long runs to create the familiar aisles seen in supermarkets.  On the end of a gondola aisle is often an end bay which is a single sided unit regularly used for special offers or promotions.

Retail shelving units are often called shelving bays and the important feature is the layout of the main load bearing uprights or posts that hold the shelving brackets, these uprights are designed to be shared between adjoining bays so a continuous run of shelving can be created.  The shelving bays are not separate units placed next to each other as people often think.  For this reason when shop shelving is sold it is normally as a bay with just the one upright, this can then join to another bay and then another and so on to create the continuous run of shelving required, at the end of the run a final upright is required which is often referred to as an end of run leg, finishing leg or simply a finisher.  The end of run leg also has either one or two base feet attached to one end of it, the base feet have adjustable feet on them to level the shelving bay, single sided shelving units have one base feet on the uprights to create an L shaped part and for gondola shelving each upright has 2 base feet to create a T shaped part.

In most types of supermarket shelving there is a base shelf, these normally sit on top of the base feet and cannot normally be tilted from the horizontal position.  The base shelf components are normally no different in design to the upper shop shelves they just don't require a pair of brackets or arms to support the shelf as this is incorporated into the base feet.  The base shelf is often used for the heaviest items as the load capacity of the base feet is higher than the shelving brackets.  In many cases the base shelf is one size deeper than the upper shelves to provide stability to the shelving unit and to increase visibility of the products on the base shelf.  Sometimes in larger stores all the shop shelves are the same depth, the upper shelves should rarely if ever be deeper than the base shelf.

On the front of the shop shelves there is normally a flap to allow plastic epos strips, sometimes called ticket edging or pricing strips to be attached to show prices for the products on the shelves.  Epos strips are usually available in a range of colours to match the store colour theme or sometimes to differentiate the products displayed in different sections of the shop.

The shelving bays are held together by back panels which join the shelving uprights together to form the shelving bay, in most cases the back panels are plain, meaning just a flat surface, but perforated back panels with pegboard hole patterns are available to facilitate pegboard hooks for hanging products such as bags of sweets.  Plain and pegboard back panels can usually be mixed on a single shelving bay for example plain back panels at the bottom with shelves in front of them and pegboard back panels above for hooks and hanging products.  Specialist back panels that mimic slatwall are also available for slatwall accessories.  On single sided units back panels are normally just placed on the front side of the shelving uprights, for gondola shelving back panels are used on both sides of the shelving uprights, single sided shelving bays that can be seen from the back for example gondola end bays have back panels on both sides too.

Below the base shelf there is often a plinth sometimes called a kicker, some attach to the front of the base feet like back panels and have the advantage that they can be removed for cleaning under the base shelf without moving the shelf, other types slide into the front of the base feet but these often require removing the base shelf first.  

On the top of gondola shelving and end bays there is sometimes a top cover which clips over the top of the back panels and hides the gap between the two sets of back panels and provides a neat finish, these are particularly important for lower height gondola where customers will be looking down onto the top of the gondola.

In most shelving systems the upper shelves can be tilted so that the front of the shelf is lower to display the products better, in this case a shelf riser is required along the front of the shelf to prevent products falling off.  Shelf risers can be attached in many ways, most commonly a groove along the front of the shelf just behind where the epos strips attach is used, sometimes the shelves come with a series of holes near the front of the shelf to hold the riser.  Risers are available in a wide range of materials such as wire mesh, clear acrylic or a toothed plastic design.  If necessary the shelves can be divided front to rear using dividers, the toothed plastic risers are designed specifically with this in mind so that dividers can be slotted into the teeth in the risers where required, in this case a riser is required in the rear shelf groove as well as the front groove.

How do I assemble Retail Shelving?

The following videos demonstrate how to assemble various layouts of shop shelving.

How to Assemble Wall Shelving

How to Assemble Gondola Shelving

How to Assemble Magazine Display Shelving

How to Assemble Internal Corner Shop Shelving

Where Can I Buy Shop Shelves?

There are many sites where you can buy shop shelving such as the two sites listed below that have lots of helpful information too.

Shelving Megastore - Shop Shelving, gondola shelving and storage racking

South West Shopfittings - Shop Shelving and Shop Fittings

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