MTA banks on retailers to make bucks on subway space

November 18, 2013 01:00PM

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing hard to boost revenue by upping the number of retail stores at subway stations and converting wedges of unused space into pop-up stores.

L’Oreal, for example, opened a 7-by-14 foot kiosk at the Bryant Park subway station earlier this month, where commuters can buy cosmetics from vending machines. And Japanese retailer Uniqlo launched a 174-square-foot pop-up store in the Union Square station last month.
“We don’t tend to have large and glamorous spaces available for retail in the subway, but what we do have is heavily trafficked corridors,” Jeffrey Rosen, the MTA’s director of real estate, told Crain’s. “These shops are not geared so much toward people who think they’re in shopping mode, but toward people who are in a hurry and happy to be distracted for a few minutes, and that plays to our strengths.”

Rosen declined to discuss the financial terms of the deals with retailers, but some retail experts told Crain’s that the retailers pay the MTA a percentage of sales. Tech titans such as Apple and Microsoft are eyeing similar initiatives in the city’s subway stations, according to Crain’s. [Crain’s]Hiten Samtani