During the Great Recession, shoppers could stroll down just about any major city block and find one, or two, trendy storefront pop-up stores. But those days are long gone. With less vacant commercial retail space available this holiday season, pop-up shops—temporary retail stores—are evolving and finding new outlets.
The vacancy decline in fact is a sign of a stabilizing economy, said Chuck Lanyard, a retail analyst for the Goldstein Group, a real estate brokerage firm.
"Retailers are feeling better about the economy. ... They are not as reluctant to open stores and they are leasing up," Lanyard said. "Landlords want long-term tenants, and shoppers want to be able to go back to the same stores and know that they are there."
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Vacancy rates at U.S. regional malls and local shopping centers fell to their lowest since 2009 during the second quarter and third quarter, according to real estate research firm Reis. Lanyard expects the growth of pop-ups to slow as retail occupancies rise.
"I don't view less real estate as a decline in overall pop-ups," said Christina Norsig, chief executive of PopUpInsider, an online exchange for temporary real estate. The pop-up concept has matured with the improving retail market, she added, and more business owners are embracing the store-within-a-store concept.