Pop-ups popping up with greater frequency

TRD New York /
Dec.December 23, 2010 01:43 PM
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People will have ample opportunity to shop at Toys “R” Us this holiday season, whether at one of the stores with its extended holiday hours or at one of the Toys “R” Us express stores.

In September, the company announced plans to operate approximately 600 express stores nationwide during the 2010-2011 Christmas season, to join their existing 587 full-size stores. The rollout of pop-up stores — which occupy approximately 4,000 square feet — represents an additional 2.4 million square feet of toy-selling space for the holiday season.

Last year, Toys “R” Us opened its first pop-up stores with nearly 90 express locations across the country, and kept 30 of those opened after seeing positive sales and traffic numbers.

The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that pop-up stores proved to be one of the most enduring trends of 2010. While seasonal stores such as Halloween shops had previously showed the value of the segment, this year major retailers got in on the action.

PopUpInsider.com defines a pop-up shop as a temporary retail or event space — for one year or less — used for generating sales and marketing brands; a solution to the economic challenges facing both landlords and retailers. PopUpInsider.com customers are both landlords looking to generate activity in their otherwise vacant retail space or retailers who want to test new concepts and markets without making long-term commitments in real estate.

According to the Times Square Alliance, a total of 566,500 people traipse through Times Square every day, and during the holiday season the number goes up. Through the end of the year, visitors to Times Square can stop by the History Channel’s first pop-up shop, called History Pop Shop. The 3,500-square-foot store located at 1501 Broadway is dedicated to the channel’s two series “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.”

This year for the fifth year in a row, Procter & Gamble’s pop-up shop and restrooms, Charmin Restrooms, has come Times Square, with a new home at 142 West 42nd Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue.

Most people that I know love to indulge on Pop-Tarts. In August, the company opened Pop-Tarts World Café a 3,200-square-foot pop-up shop at 128 West 42nd Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue.

Many of the nation’s baby boomers will never forget the famed Lionel toy trains. This year, the company has opened five holiday season pop-up locations including one at 1095 Sixth Avenue at the corner of 41st Street.

This year, FAO Schwarz opened a total of 10 pop-up stores for the Christmas season in some of the most well-known shopping locations throughout the country. In the metropolitan region, FAO opened pop-up shops in the Westchester store in White Plains and Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ.

Wired magazine joined the ranks this year of new pop-up with Wired Store, which according to its website, is an “interactive experience that allows you to touch, test and tinker with the most ‘wired’ products out there.” The store is located at 692 Broadway near the corner of 4th Street.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that as many as 12 new pop-up cafés may open in the spring in New York City, if they can gain approval from the Department of Transportation.

Under Armour, the performance gear company, leaped into the holiday season with the opening of its first pop-up store last December at 3 West 57th Street. This year, the chain returned to the Big Apple at 134 Spring Street in Soho between Greene and Wooster streets.

Borders, the second largest retailer in the country, opened 25 five pop-up stores this holiday season. Lampe Berger, a French luxury home fragrance company, opened a free-standing pop-up store at 941 Madison Avenue at 74th Street.

Last but not least, Harry & David, opened a gourmet food gift pop-up shop at 155 Fifth Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets.

Based upon preliminary sales results generated by pop-up stores, expect to see this trend continue in 2011.

Michael Stoler is a columnist for The Real Deal and host of real estate programs “The Stoler Report” and “Building New York” on CUNY TV and on WEGTV in East Hampton. His radio show, “The Michael Stoler Real Estate Report,” airs on 1010 WINS on Saturdays and Sundays. Stoler is a director at Madison Realty Capital as well as an adjunct professor at NYU Real Estate Institute, and a former contributing editor and columnist for the New York Sun.

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