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In Codata database, most Locations have a commercial purpose: these Locations are called "Retail Locations". The other Locations (such as dwellings, monuments, public or religious buildings…) that have no commercial purpose are regrouped under the activity "Buildings". A Retail Location can be occupied by a shop or not (empty, in alterations…).

Retail Locations that are unoccupied are regrouped under the activity "Inactive shops".

Shops can be independent or integrated to an organised network. In that case, they are referred to as "Retailers".

One or several activities are assigned to each Location according to Codata list of activities (see 5).

Schematically, Locations are classified as follows:

  • Locations
    • Retail Locations
      • Shops
        • Retailers
        • Independent / Local Owners
      • Inactive Shops
        • Warehouse (storehouse, shop window,...)
        • Works
        • Empty
    • Buildings (Monument, Religious edifice,...)

All elements of the Codata database are subject to precise definitions. Discover all these definitions: Location, Site, commercial Cluster, Project, Retailer, Service Provider, Activities,...

Locations - Exhaustive censuses

For each Site, Codata has defined a census perimeter that includes all main axes. It is defined largely enough to allow the user to understand the retail organisation within this perimeter. Censuses are exhaustive within the defined perimeters. This means that all units are analysed and taken into account, whether they are occupied or not by a shop and whether the shop belongs to a network or is independent.

Locations - Additional censuses

In order to complete the Locations database, additional censuses are carried out in addition to the annual field visits in the defined perimeters. The aim of these additional censuses is to list and geolocate the shops that belong to distribution chains. In each country, these additional censuses are first of all carried out for retailers intending to play the role of an anchor store: food, DIY and department stores. They are then extended to other types of retailers.


A Site defined by Codata corresponds to a set of Locations situated

  • in an agglomeration of at least 25,000 inhabitants
  • whose total sales area reaches 10,000 sqm
  • and with at least 25 to 30 shops including a medium-sized store of minimum 2,500 sqm

The perimeters of Codata Sites are defined on those bases.

However, those criteria aren't absolute rules. Sites that don't meet all the criteria are occasionally included in the database.

Example of "out of criteria" Sites: Saint-Tropez, Deauville, Forte dei Marmi, ... These Sites are listed in the database because they are commercial flourishing areas, even if they do not meet the set basic criteria.

A Site can be of different types: shopping streets, shopping centres, retail areas, retail parks, outlet centres, train stations and airports, and finally shopping galleries.

  • A Shopping street is a site where commercial activities are located at the foot of residential buildings. In urban areas, it corresponds to the shopping areas in the city centre.
  • A Retail area is a site located in periurban or outlying areas where a significant commercial activity is concentrated.
  • A Shopping centre is a commercial complex of at least 20 locations developed, managed, animated and promoted as a single entity. It is generally covered and often includes a hypermarket as the main attraction.
  • An Outlet center is a commercial complex where several factory stores dedicated mainly to clothing, footwear and leather goods are clustered.
  • A Train station - Airport is a commercial complex, usually covered, located in a building whose primary function is to receive passengers from rail or air transport.
  • A Retail park is an open-air commercial complex of at least 5 locations. It is developed, managed and promoted as a single entity. Shops are organised around a central car park and share the same architecture.
  • A Shopping gallery is a commercial complex with less than 20 locations. It groups a few locations facing a hypermarket.

Commercial Cluster

A Commercial Cluster is a set of Locations situated on a father Site and its son Sites.
Example: The Cluster "Lille Centre" includes the father Site "Lille: Centre" as well as its son Sites, that is to say the shopping centres "Euralille", "Le 31", "Le Passage des Tanneurs" and "Grand'Place".


Projects listed in the database are classified according to various categories:

  • Creations
  • Transfers
  • Renovations
  • Extensions
  • Urban Plannings
  • "New traffic builders"

To be referenced, a Project doesn't need to have an operating licence or authorisation. Projects are usually referenced before they are granted administrative authorisations. However, each Project must be substantial in its agglomeration.

Activities - Definition and classification

The list of activities (general and detailed activities) has been defined by Codata. Groupings have also been defined to establish statistics on the distribution of shops.

One or several activities (maximum six) are assigned to each Retail Location. However, the general activity of the shop will come up first and will for instance be used to establish thematic maps.
Each search on any activity will nevertheless allow the identification of a shop as long as the chosen activity was assigned to it, whether it is a general or detailed activity.


A Retailer corresponds in all cases to a duplicated concept. The retailer can be regional or national, but must have a network of at least ten shops to be included in Codata database. Nevertheless, new promising concepts and concepts from countries other than those studied by Codata are also included in the database.

Commercial real estate service provider

A service provider included in Codata database is a company active in the commercial real estate sector. For instance, they can be owners, investors, property developers, commercial real estate consultants, retail developers, real estate experts or shopping centre managers and leasing agents.


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