Tis the season for pop up retail

Tis the season for pop up retail

Flash retailing has become popular with businesses who want to consider having premises. Particularly popular in December, are they worth it and what’s important to know?

A “pop-up shop” is a short-term, temporary retail event that is "here today, gone tomorrow", temporarily using physical space to create lasting impressions with potential customers.

They can be an excellent way for landlords to secure revenue for empty buildings, or for businesses to make use of unused space, without the risk associated with selecting a long term partner. Equally, they can be a testbed for new products and services, or for business owners unsure if physical shops are right for them.

Indeed, businesses like Appear [here] have prospered by becoming marketplaces for retail space which doesn’t require – or permit – long term space rentals. They have space available in Edinburgh starting at just £78 per day, and a huge range of opportunities in Glasgow.

What makes Appear [here] special is the wrap-around support and information they provide to the businesses they work with. They share success stories, and explain about some important considerations like staffing.

HSBC provided Scottish entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to showcase their businesses inside their local HSBC branch as part of the bank’s UK-wide Small Business Pop-Up Week.

In Glasgow a number of local businesses, including Ceiling to floor, Barrhead Travel, and Grease Monkeys, were setup inside HSBC’s Buchanan Street branch, giving them access to new customers while maximising exposure of their brand.

While in Edinburgh, businesses including Barrhead Travel, Enhance Fashion accessories, and Business Gateway, were setup inside HSBC’s Princes Street branch.

The event saw more than 300 businesses being given prime space within their local HSBC branch to promote their products and services.

Richard Bearman, HSBC’s head of small business in the UK, said: “Small Business Pop-Up Week provided a unique opportunity for many small, local enterprises to better connect with their local community.  The initiative supported the growth ambitions of these entrepreneurs by offering them a space to showcase their products and services, network with potential new customers and increase awareness of their businesses.

Making a success of a pop-up store involves more than good location and footfall: retailers and landlords should also avoid some legal pitfalls, says Stacy Campbell, director in Lindsays’ Commercial Property team.

“For retailers, the prime attraction of the pop-up approach is clear: flexibility. In general, this extends to the legal arrangements for the property. Typically, the retailer will be committed for a few weeks only, and there are likely to be fewer requirements in terms of repair and maintenance.

“However, before signing on the dotted line, it’s important to watch out for pitfalls in the legal arrangements. They could turn out to be less flexible than you expected and, in the worst case, eat into profits.

Notice periods. Generally, both parties will intend the arrangement to run for a defined period – let’s say 10 weeks. However, do not assume that the deal automatically terminates at that point: it may be necessary to give formal notice as well.

Repairs. Regardless of whether there is a lease or a licence, both parties must understand their obligations in terms of repairs and maintenance. Is the retailer liable for external repairs as well as internal repairs? Could they be obliged to restore the property to a better condition than they found it in?

Location, location, location: If the shop is located within a shopping centre it is important to establish whether there may be a payment of service charge in addition to rent.

Access and exclusive use: Is the landlord free to access the property? Does the retailer have exclusive use of it, or could the owner also let others use the property in some way?

Scottish and English legal arrangements: If you have experience of running pop-ups south of the border, do not assume that the arrangements will be identical in Scotland, as the legal landscape for commercial property is different.

“None of these issues should deter anyone from opening a pop-up shop. Pop-ups can be an excellent business opportunity, but paying proper attention to the small print is essential to fully enjoy the benefits.”