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Is there a place for pop-up stores in South African retail?


Feb 15th 2012, 07:46

The exercise of setting up a temporary store and trading for a short period of time is not new (look at the many boerewors stands that pop-up at sporting events), but what is becoming a more accepted practice is to set up a temporary store, or a pop-up store in a shopping centre. 

A pop-up store is only open for a short period of time. However, it is set up with a more strategic approach in mind, such as, for the purposes of testing out a new product (for retailers), or to earn income when stores are left empty for incoming international brands (for management).

But, is there a place for pop-up stores in South African retail and how do they fit into a shopping mall scenario especially since shopping malls are typically designed for permanent and long standing tenants?

Yael Shapiro, from the National Retail Leasing department at Old Mutual Property, who runs top retailer accounts across Old Mutual’s shopping centre portfolio says that: “Pop-up stores are an excellent solution for recessionary times; they can assist with strategic vacancies (particularly when stores are kept vacant for incoming international brands). They offer retailers an opportunity to test their product with minimal risk.”

While pop-up stores may reap benefits for shopping centre management and incoming retailers, they may not always be ideal for permanent tenants, especially if a pop-up store opens during a tenant’s most lucrative trading period and sells similar goods.

In answer to this, Shapiro comments that “it is all about the consumer and embracing competition. When one first allows a store (temporary or permanent), we look at the concept from a mix point of view to see whether it (a) fits into the mix and (b) whether there is overlap with an existing tenant. Obviously we want our permanent tenants to continue to do well, however competition is healthy and it allows for cross selling opportunities.”

Perhaps a time will come when shopping centres will be made up mainly of pop-up stores that open for certain trading periods. Until then, what’s needed is a healthy mix of shops that benefits the consumer, while satisfying both shopping centre management and permanent tenants. 


Editor at Capacity Holdings

Focusing on general issues that affect the FMCG and Retail Industries.