ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



Commercial districts across the United States are attempting to expand retail activity and employment in targeted city neighborhoods. This paper presents a prototype drilldown for measuring retail strengths of under-served central city areas. Two sets of drill downs were developed using state-of-the-art methodologies to meet the needs of business owners, community agencies, and academics in assessing the existing and potential retail market of individual neighborhoods. ETI Purchasing Power Profiles detail the annual expenditures of residents in each neighborhood for 16 major categories of consumer expenditures, utilizing a unique methodology developed by the Employment and Training Institute. The profiles were initially developed for retail districts in the City of Milwaukee and were subsequently made available on the ETI website for every U.S. census tract and residential ZIP code to help counter the negative stereotypes and overemphasis on median household income (versus density of spending) by national marketing firms. A second critical planning tool, the Urban Markets Retail Sales Leakage/Surplus Drill Down, shows the difference between the purchasing power of residents in urban markets compared to the retail sales estimated to result from retail employees in the neighborhood.