Point 1 - How to get useful information from users
The way we ask questions to users, affect the way they respond to us and the information they provide. To save you time and frustration don't ask your users directly of what they need, they consult you because they need your expertise. Modify your questions to understand their current behaviours and frustrations, and how could that feature of yours alleviate their frustrations. For example:
- How do they do things currently? What is their role/responsibilities?
If they already use or have used similar products or methods in their work - can they describe their frustrtations and gains? (considering that those methods are not good enough for them, to be in need of your product instead)
What do they do currently to overcome those frustrations? Why do they
take that approach?
Why do they need a feature like yours? What does it offer them, in comparison to what they currently have or do?
Such questions are aimed for you to understand their current behaviours, responsibilities and frustrations in their job. None of the above questions asks the user to say specifically what they want or need in your product, or how to be displayed. That's up to you to decide after analysing your findings.
Point 2 - Another approach in designing your product feature
To describe the mockup below:
From my limited understanding so far, your users seem to want to be able to take a quick glance at data to get a preview of what is happening with their stores, but also the potential to dig into more specifics.
Considering that's the case, I would suggest dividing your data in two sections:
A quick overview in the form of a timeline, aimed at displaying the amount of open/closed stores per brand over a period of time. The user may also interact with any of those timepoints to get a quick figure of brands' details that are relevant to that specific timepoint.
If they want a more detailed view they can get that from the table data.
Filters are available to help them either get a broader picture or get down to more specifics. For example in the mockup below, the user has chosen to get an overview (graph) and details (table) of only Aldi and Walmart. By default, everything could be displayed - depending on your requirements and assessed feasibility. Additionally, the user can choose whether they want the filters to be applied on only the graph, or only the table, or on both (in case they want to keep a broad view in one, but a more narrow view in the other - depending on what they might want to assess each time).
download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups