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Seasonal pop-up stores may linger longer

October 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the holidays approaching, retailers are worried about the recession, and many of them are turning to "pop-up stores." The idea is to save on costs and cover more locations. The recession has certainly changed a lot of things, and it is one of the reasons we are seeing this trend of pop-up stores, which are stores that open up quickly and close just as quickly.

Now typically a mall, like the Citadel in Commerce, would like the see businesses sign a lease of at least five years, but a new Toys R Us Holiday Express just opened up and yet it will be closed in just a couple of months.

The concept of pop-up stores is certainly not new. We've seen seasonal businesses like Halloween costume stores pop up one day, sell a bunch of merchandise, then disappear and morph into something else two days later.

But now, major retail stores are opening up temporary quarters, and Toys R Us is one of them. The Holiday Express at the Citadel Mall in Commerce is an example.

"It's new for Toys R Us. We have about 80 currently in malls and centers and also about 250 in our Babies R Us locations for Holiday Express stores as well," said Andrew Bloom, the commerce store's manager.

Today's weak economy has had a lot to do with this pop up trend. It gives the merchant a chance to test out products or the market place without spending a lot on rent or taxes. Sometimes when a business saves money, so does the consumer.

"Prices are a lot cheaper than, you know, the bigger stores. Saving money, yeah, a lot of money, especially now," said Chris Gutierrez, a customer.

Toys R Us Holiday Express does have some lower prices, but many items cost the same as the larger store.

"It's very similar to what we have in the full line stores, but this is a great last-minute, quick, easy, different locations where to pick up merchandise," said Bloom.

We'll likely see more pop-up stores from other retailers as the glut of commercial real estate continues to grow, because no land lord wants a vacancy.

These Toys R Us Holiday Express stores are scheduled to close up shop after the holidays in January.

But just like those Halloween stores that are now open all year long, we might just see a few of these pop-up stores stick around too.


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