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Pop-up retail now worth £2.3bn to UK economy

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Pop-up retail is now worth £2.3bn to the UK economy according to Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy, the second annual report into the pop-up sector from Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The report, commissioned by EE, found that pop-ups now account for 0.76% of total UK retail turnover, more than £200m in sales up on last year.

The research reveals that the pop-up retail sector is growing at 12.3% with a turnover of £2.3bn, employing over 26,000 people. This is largely due to a rise in the number of customers and an increased average spend

Britain is now host to more than an estimated 10,000 pop-ups, as the lines between pop-ups and traditional retail becomes more and more blurred. Well established retailers and online-only brands are using pop-ups to test and expand into new locations and product lines and in the past 12 months alone, 8% of retailers report having launched a pop-up while 10% plan to open one in the next five years.

Despite this growth, technology continues to hold the sector back, as over 40% of small retailers are still unable to take card payments and 25% say they have lost sales because they don’t have sufficient stock management systems in place

To help retailers overcome these challenges and to support the rapid growth the pop-up sector is experiencing, EE is launching EE Connected Retail, a new range of 4G products to help retailers run a smarter shop. From pop-ups to established retailers, Connected Retail provides businesses with a superfast 4G tablet, a contactless iZettle payments device and POS software Shopwave.

Mike Tomlinson, Director of Small Business at EE, said: “The pop-up sector is rapidly evolving…The sector’s growth is driven by retailers and brands of all sizes using pop-ups to create new experiences, products, and locations for their customers. With Connected Retail from EE, we’re providing 4G connected products designed specifically to help temporary and permanent retailers be even more flexible and productive – getting them online quickly, and helping them to engage with customers via social media, take payments, and manage inventory.”

Ross Bailey, Founder and CEO of online pop-up space specialist Appear Here said: “This report highlights how important the pop-up sector is becoming to the UK economy. With so many traditional retailers using pop-up shops and so many pop-up retailers moving onto long-term rents, we should no longer be looking to draw a line between traditional retail and pop-up retail – it is all just retail. We're seeing brands and retailers from all backgrounds incorporate pop-up retail into their retail strategy. Since launching in 2013, Appear Here has grown by 500% year on year and currently generates £14m in request value per month, a number which is increasing month on month. This is a testament to the growth of the industry.

Published on Thursday 13 August by Veebs Sabharwal

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