Pop-up stores become retail strategy

September 17, 2009 3:09:44 PM PDT
With the cost of rent in Manhattan sky high, not all companies can commit to leasing space. But a new trend in pop-up shops has them open temporarily. In this economy, companies are reluctant to spend lots of money to open up stores. So instead, they are opening up temporary stores with less investment at stake.

Julie Haus' clothes sell at Saks and Bloomingdales, but she decided to open up a 4,200-square foot shop in SoHo as well.

"It gives you a place to showcase the entire collection," she said.

But her store is only open for four weeks. It's a pop-up store, meaning here today. gone tomorrow. And it's growing trend.

Mackage opened its meatpacking store for the month of September, just enough time to stock up on outerwear before it gets cold. The designer, Rachel Roy, opened her pop-up store for just one week.

"It's a perfect experiment to do a pop-up shop," she said.

AREAWARE's Port Authority pop-up experiment was so successful, it will be popping up again.

"We're going to take this pop-up idea down to Chelsea," AREAWARE's Kiel Mead said.

For many business owners, pop ups are a way to experiment and see how it goes before taking a long lease. And while retailers can get a good deal on short-term leases now, landlords stand to benefit as well, according to Vanessa O'Connell, of the Wall Street Journal. She says it gives landlords the opportunity to make money as opposed to waiting for empty space to permanently sell.

Julie Haus's SoHo space is very raw. She and her husband didn't want to invest too much in the space, but they wanted to maximize it. So they held their fashion week show there. And they're launching their lower-priced line there as well.

The space may be temporary, but it's a way to build the brand for the future.

"Our goal was to try one this season and another next season and open in the fall," Haus said.

Pop ups have a certain energy to them that regular stores usually don't have. Pop ups have a sense of urgency. You've got to shop there soon, before it's too late. Julie Haus' pop up store is open until October 4.

--- WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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