Pop-up shops still popular with retailers for the holidays


Pop-up shops are still popular among retailers, especially around the holidays.

There is a “burst” of pop-ups expected to round out the year, an annual holiday survey from commercial real estate firm CBRE found.

The holiday season offers companies a sliver of time to test new features, experiment where there is heavier foot traffic, or bring their online operations offline — as companies such as Warby Parker, Bonobos and Allbirds have done.

More importantly, “landlords have an appetite for pop-ups that they didn’t have in the past,” Melina Cordero, head of CBRE Americas’ retail research division, told CNBC. “Given customers are increasingly bored with the copy-paste mall model, [pop-ups] can be a pretty effective traffic driver.”

It’s true more mall owners are opening up to the idea of putting pop-up spaces — even permanent ones — within their properties.

Simon Property Group is opening “The Edit,” which will rotate retailers throughout the year on short-term contracts. Washington Prime Group, another U.S. mall landlord, is finalizing plans to launch a pop-up marketplace called “Tangible” in its malls.

“A lot of times landlords themselves are actually investing in these projects,” Cordero said. “I think this is at the forefront of the holidays.”

Toys R Us has its holiday pop-up near Times Square this year. Yankee Candle is opening its first pop-up store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, through Jan. 3. Sharper Image, once a staple retailer in American malls, is also opening a temporary shop in New York for the holiday season. And these are just a few examples.

Amazon is also bringing holiday pop-ups to some Whole Foods locations.

CBRE’s 2017 holiday survey found other trends this season to be: more shopping completed on mobile devices, off-price players winning with their discounts, and more warehouse space needed — on a short-term basis — to fulfill a surge in online orders.

As a retailer, “you really need to be as efficient as possible,” Cordero said. And around the holidays, no one company can risk not following consumer trends.

In a separate holiday sentiment survey, real estate investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle is predicting a 6 percent increase in spending this season after speaking with more than 2,000 consumers.

“As we head into the holiday season, consumer confidence is the highest it’s been in nearly 17 years,” Greg Maloney, CEO of JLL Retail, said in a statement. “We expect that holiday spending will mirror overall retail sales trends … due to favorable economic conditions and the strength of the labor market.”

Nearly 40 percent of consumers surveyed will shop at more than six stores throughout the holidays, JLL found. And roughly two-thirds of shoppers indicated they will shop at superstores this year, while 44 percent said they plan to make purchases online.

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