Pop-up stores or small, seasonal shops are the little retail engines that could and do deliver in sales. The temporary spaces crop up in locations ranging from malls to churches during the holidays, and a prominent pop-up location is New York City's Bryant Park.
New data find that while some of these temporary stores may not be large enough to rival malls and big-box retailers, the shops bring in an estimated $2 billion during the important holiday rush, according to PopUp Republic, an online resource for pop-up shops. It compiles data on the industry's size and dollars spent.
For Cliff Huang, owner of Cliff Belts, opening a pop-up store brings in buzz and new customers who may not be familiar with his belts, bags and other merchandise—all made from harvested tree bark. Based in New York City, Huang rents a space in the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park for the holiday season. In addition to pop-up spaces, most of his sales are online.
"Here in Bryant Park, it's just a really cute place to do holiday shopping—it's the whole atmosphere," Huang said. "Customers are in and out all day long, but around 2 p.m. it can be really hard to even walk through the aisles around here."
In the two months leading up to the holidays, Huang says he will do about $60,000 in sales. And while he declined to reveal what he pays in rent for the seasonal store, he says it's well worth the cost.