Here today, gone tomorrow: Retailers pop up for back-to-school

By Madeline Will  |   – Reuters

 

(Reuters) – Temporary stores, a money-making staple during the Halloween and Christmas seasons, are going back to school.

A growing number of retailers, including Target Corp (TGT.N), JanSport and Toys R Us Inc TOYS.UL, are popping up this summer in neighborhoods, malls and college campuses across the United States to sell notebooks, clothes, bed sheets and other supplies as students prepare for a new school year.

These pop-ups typically open in empty storefronts and sell smaller selections of popular items. They are a good way for retailers to increase shopping options during busy periods, test locations and promote their brand, retail experts say.

“Merchants today are looking for a way to differentiate themselves,” said Christina Norsig, chief executive officer of Pop-Up Insider, which connects retailers to potential pop-up spaces. “We’re really seeing a change in marketplace.”

The number of pop-up stores in the United States has jumped 16 percent to 2,380 in 2012 from 2,043 in 2009, according to data from industry research firm IBIS World. But pop-ups are still largely untracked, with no data available on their sales or revenue.

WHY POP UP?

Retailers can save up to 80 percent by opening a pop-up instead of a traditional retail store, according to Storefront, a company that also connects pop-ups with real estate.

With a national retail vacancy rate of about 10 percent, landlords are usually willing to let retailers sign a shorter and sometimes cheaper lease, said Storefront Chief Operating Officer Tristan Pollock.

About 2,000 square feet is a popular size for pop-ups, he said, since that allows retailers to be flexible about how much inventory they carry.

Some pop-ups may stock a smaller selection of items, but enable customers to purchase others online, said Kurt Salmon retail strategist Megan Donadio.

Phil Magnuson, principal at SBLM Architects, which designs for retailers, said… Read the complete article

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