Pop-up shops are licking the high street blues

Helped by the Rolling Stones, temporary shops are rocking. James Thompson reports

Despite the eye-wateringly expensive ticket prices of nearly £1,000 a pop, the O2 Arena in London's Docklands was crammed to the rafters with adoring Rolling Stones fans for two concerts this month.

Jumpin' Jack Flash fans who couldn't get seats were at least able to buy CDs and T-shirts at the band's temporary shop across the capital in Carnaby Street. This is the most high-profile example of the latest high-street revolution: pop-up shops.

Whether it is retailers seeking to maximise sales ahead of Christmas or seeing if their wares will sell before launching, pop-up shops are literally popping up everywhere in "Austerity" Britain at a time when one in seven town-centre shops are empty.

The transient nature of these stores means that there is a lack of hard evidence over this trend. But Matthew Hopkinson, director at the retail research specialist Local Data Company (LDC), says: "I definitely think the number of pop-up shops has increased over the last year, as it has over recent years."

Also, retailers and their landlords are coming up with new ideas on how to market pop-up shops. For instance, the struggling entertainment retailer HMV has opened 15 of them before Christmas, but, for the first time has put its name on the fascia.

Companies as diverse as the love it-or-hate it toast spread specialist Marmite, the online auctioneer eBay and the department store chain Liberty have popped-up this year.

They are also starting to tie the opening of a temporary shop to social media. Nothing illustrates this better than the fact that Shaftesbury, the property company, struck an exclusive deal to display the huge lips logo for the Rolling Stones' GRRR! 50th anniversary above Carnaby Street as part of its Christmas lights from late November.

Shaftesbury director Simon Quayle says the lights and pop-up has generated "lots of excitement" over the internet. He smiles: "The Rolling Stones have about 10 million followers on Facebook, which is not a bad marketing tool."

In fact, retailers typically open pop-ups for a few months on the high street, or as concessions in department stores, ahead of the Christmas trading period or in the summer when the warmer weather brings out shoppers.

Christine Cross, chief retail adviser at the Big Four accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers, says: "Pop-ups provide a good way to give high-profile leverage to a brand, or to test out a concession opportunity without longevity of commitment. [They provide] a low-risk strategy to test and learn in new domestic or international locations".

Importantly for retailers, pop-ups don't hold the same financial fears in terms of signing up to a long-term lease and the associated pain of sky-high business rates. They also mean that landlords, who have seen so many chains fold or cut back in the past few years, will be able to garner some rent for their empty units.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation,argues: "Landlords don't want to see their shop sitting empty for any period of time.

"The benefits to a landlord of having a property occupied, even on a temporary basis, are also much broader than just the rental income. An occupied shop is less likely to attract antisocial behaviour, and contributes to the overall health of the high street it sits on."

In an industry where tenants are always changing, even in central London, Quayle stresses that Shaftesbury signs up the temporary operators, including charity shops, not because it cannot fill the stores, but because it likes to have them. He said: "Pop-up shops generate footfall and excitement for the area."

That's the sort of satisfaction that the Stones can bring.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities