Pop-Up Retail Set for Speedy Growth in SME Sector

Economists have predicted increased growth in the already burgeoning pop-up retail industry. According to the POP-UP UK report carried out by the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and digital communications company EE, this sector is expected to grow by 8.4% over the next 12 months – 2.5 times faster than the traditional British retail market.

Pop-up shops – where retailers make use of temporary spaces to sell their products and services – currently contribute £2.1 billion to the UK economy. Around 23,400 people are employed in almost 10,000 ventures across the UK, with a variety of businesses ranging from temporary restaurants and shops to product trials for new and established brands.

Richard Lim, Head of Business Information at the British Retail Consortium, said: “These figures demonstrate the important role pop-up retail is playing in the UK economy, but we’re only at the beginning of this pop-up revolution.

“The novel use of these temporary spaces showcases the innovative nature of UK retail which continues to adapt to consumer demands and structural changes occurring throughout the industry.”

Pop-Up UK Campaign launched

While the stats from this study paint a picture of a successful expanding market, the CEBR believes there is still room for improvement if certain barriers are reduced. Limiting factors include a lack of flexible short-term contracts, difficulty finding appropriate flexible space, obstructive business rates and lack of instant access to technology (two weeks waiting time for fixed-line internet, for example).

With these issues in mind, the CEBR and EE have joined forces with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to launch the Pop-Up UK campaign – designed to provide encouragement, mentoring and support.

Spearheading this campaign is 22-year-old Ross Bailey – the CEO of Appear Here, which is an online service connecting landlords’ vacant spaces with pop-up entrepreneurs.

“Pop-ups are the future of retail, and this campaign goes a long way to helping remove the barriers pop-ups are facing every day,” explained Ross.

“Whether you’re a major retailer that wants to try out a new product line or just one person with a great idea – setting up a pop-up should be as easy as possible. This new campaign helps remove technological barriers plus helps connect entrepreneurs with their ideal pop-ups locations.

“However, there’s much more support needed to help pop-ups achieve their true potential, particularly from the Government.”