Once A Sign Of Desperation, Pop-Up Shops Now Part Of The Business Plan

By Shan Li
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In recent years, shopping centers have realized that pop-up stores are a way to gin up excitement among shoppers by making under-the-radar brands accessible.

LOS ANGELES

When Platform opened this year just outside Los Angeles, the upscale shopping center set aside four stores for a specific class of highly sought-after retailers.

Platform, which also contains restaurants and office space, wasn’t looking for a particular brand or merchant. Instead, it went hunting for retailers happy with a brief stay, some as short as three days.

“So much stuff is accessible online,” said David Fishbein, a principal at Runyon Group, the real estate firm behind Platform. “To give people experiences and content to do in person they can’t find anywhere else is really appealing.”

Pop-up stores, once seen as only a step up from a vacant storefront, have become a key strategy for some malls.

These kinds of stores have been around for decades, sliding into empty storefronts left vacant by more desirable long-term tenants. Come October, temporary stores peddling costumes open seemingly overnight, while toy stores and Christmas tree lots spring up in November.

But in recent years, shopping centers have realized that pop-up stores are a way to gin up excitement among shoppers by making under-the-radar brands accessible and bringing in startups linked to celebrities.

With online sales forecasted to grow as much as 10 percent this holiday season to $117 billion, brick-and-mortar stores are upping their game to compete.

“The idea for owners is ‘What can I do to generate traffic and buzz?'” said Mitchell Hernandez, a senior associate at real estate giant CBRE.

“The mantra a few years ago was having 100 percent occupancy,” Hernandez added. Now, some think that “a better idea is to have 90 percent occupancy and have 10 percent devoted to rotating pop-up shops.”

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