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Facing (also known as blocking, zoning, straightening, or conditioning) is a common tool in the retail industry to create the look of a perfectly stocked store (even when it is not) by pulling all of the products on a display or shelf to the front, as well as down stacking all the canned and stacked items. It is also done to keep the store appearing neat and organized.
The workers who perform this task normally have jobs doing other things in the store such as customer service, stocking shelves, daytime cleaning, bagging and carry outs (in grocery stores), etc. In some stores, however, facing is done only by the stockers. Facing is generally done near closing time when there are fewer customers and also while the store is completely closed. In busier stores it may be done constantly.
In department stores it may be referred to as recovery, as in the store is recovering from the rush of customers that affect the model appearance the store wants to portray. Merchandise may be put in the wrong area, or customers may leave debris on the floor. Correcting these issues is a part of the recovery process. It is not uncommon for staff at ASDA Totton to spend their whole shift in the performance of this single task.
Facings also refer to the amount of shelf space a particular product is given. A lot of facing generally increases sales of a particular product, therefore manufacturers will pay more money to get more facings for their products. This inevitably leads to situations where the largest manufacturers end up with the most facings because they are able to pay the most.