Property group looks to pop-up retail tenants as short-term fix

Property company The GPT Group has enlisted Popup Brands to reach the growing market of retailers looking for short-term commercial spaces.

The move is a sign of increasing acceptance of pop-up shops by landlords and commercial real estate agents, as they begin to embrace short-term leases to fill spaces.

Popup Brands is an online marketplace for listing and finding pop-up spaces, which can be leased for hours, days, weeks or months.

Popup Brands founder Marianella Watman said in a statement Popup Brands allows retailers to book spaces directly with landlords, without going through a middleman.

“This was tough for tenants until now, because there was no single place to look for short-term space so finding the right space for their brand took lots of legwork,” she says.

“Popups are a great way to provide shoppers with a constant flow of new experiences and offers. We also see the potential for big savings on traditional casual leasing expenses like brochures and print advertising.”

Founder of Instant Retail and Pop Up Shops Melbourne, Scott Williams, told SmartCompany landlords and commercial real estate agents are starting to realise pop-ups are a “win-win”.

“It means they get someone in their property again and there’s always the potential the person going in there could become a long-term tenant,” he says.

“The advantage to them is that the shop is open again. If it’s been vacant for a while they tend to fade into the background and it’s not noticed. If someone’s in there, the lights are on and people come and go, the neighbourhood notices it again and interest is sparked.”

Williams says commercial real estate agents are realising finding short-term occupants can quell the anxieties of landlords.

“Some of the commercial agents are seeing the potential in this because they can be under pressure from landlords to get a tenant in and having a pop-up shop is seen as being proactive in trying to find a tenant, plus some rent comes in,” he says.

Pop-up stores first began when Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons opened a pop-up shop in 2004 in Berlin. Since then they’ve been growing in popularity around the globe and have the capacity to generate a buzz amongst consumers.

In November last year online marketplace Etsy launched a pop-up shop in Sydney in time for Christmas.

Williams says pop-up shops can be used by online retailers to offer a temporary permanent presence, but also have a variety of other purposes.

“They’re not just about holding sales, they’re also about testing the location, a demographic, trialing a new product or even the presentation of a shop,” he says.

“They’re appealing because retailers can do them at a low cost and fairly low commitment.”

Williams says how long the shop stays open depends on the motivation of the retailers.

“For quick sales the shop could be there for a few days to a week, but if they’re testing a location or product it may stay for a month or three months to get a feel for what they’re doing,” he says.

“If it’s longer than three months, I don’t consider it a pop-up shop anymore.”

Williams says pop-ups shops are likely to continue to grow in popularity.

“They’re becoming more mainstream for anyone wanting to do a sale, for online businesses, start-ups and just people wanting to test the waters of a market,” he says.

“A Sydney shopping centre has actually set aside space for a rotating pop-up shop section.”

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