Now you see them, now you don’t
Total Property Issue 5 2016
For commercial property owners, empty space is a financial strain but a new trend is proving to be a winner for both retailers and landlords ... the pop-up store.
Pop-ups – the temporary conversion of unoccupied space – are well, ‘popping up’ in malls, high streets, warehouses, garages and on bare land.
This is partly due to pop-ups providing a solution to a persistent problem: vacant space. The temporary nature of pop-ups means the risk is low for all parties. Retailers can take a gamble on a new location or new product, while landlords can fill their spaces more quickly and expand their client base.
Greg Harford, of Retail NZ says pop ups can be broadly split into two categories:
1. Those set up by established retailers looking to clear certain lines of product.
2. Those set up by less permanent retailers looking to take advantage of a particular event or location.
Harford says there is no one pop-up demographic with customers coming from all walks of life. “And the key to a successful pop-up store is location.”
He believes pop-ups complement, rather than compete, with established stores offering a customer experience that is targeted and instantaneous.
"Commercial landlords are always going to prefer a high-end retailers on long leases but pop-ups provide opportunities to fill gaps between permanent tenants."
Pop-ups can also revitalise down-at heel areas like in Christchurch where the Re:START mall brought life back to the city’s earthquake ravaged and abandoned CBD. Re:START grew from 27 businesses to well over 50 and assisted the Christchurch recovery.
Lizzi Hines is founder of Pop UP Now, an Auckland-based design company connecting brands with landlords who have retail space for short-term lease.
Hines says landlords and leasing agents have yet to fully realise the benefit of pop-ups. “The rental and commission on a three-month pop-up are not particularly significant, so we’re trying to educate landlords and agents on how important it is to activate a space.
Our approach to agents is: “If you’ve got a space that’s a bit stagnant, give it to us. If it turns into a long-term deal, we’ll pass the clients back to you.”
She says a good pop-up can be an effective way of advertising the space it fills. “Seeing an active space can be an incentive for a retailer to sign a long-term lease and for landlords, it makes them a bit of coin in the meantime.”
Pop-ups, she says, are an ideal way to test new products or revitalise a brand. “We did a pop-up for a large juice manufacturer that wanted to test a new product but didn’t want anybody to know the brand behind it - and also a pop-up for Molenberg, which wanted to get people excited about bread.”
She says pop-ups offer huge opportunities for the hospitality industry. “A lot of bars don’t hang around longer than a couple of years, so if they are treated as pop-ups, they can be constantly earning money because they are new and exciting places.”
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