Shops just for Christmas, not life

By Charlotte Amos

December 11, 2012 | 5 min read

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; the nights are drawing in, there’s a crisp wintery chill in the air and our high streets are lit up with festive lights and decorations. Retailers are encouraging us to shop and buy, creating more and more genius gimmicks to ensure that we do.

Harvey Nichols pop-up

The past year has seen pop-ups go from strength to strength as an increasingly popular way for retailers to promote their products over a short period of time, and with Christmas almost on our doorstep pop ups are a plenty.

Seasonal or themed pop-ups are all the rage, with Valentine’s Day, mother’s day and other key gifting times of year being the most popular. However, Christmas still undoubtedly remains the best time to ‘pop-up’; from high street retailers, local shops and big department stores, to independent online retailers and even bars and restaurants. They are a great way to get people prepped for Christmas and into the festive spirit.

In preparation for the busiest shopping time of the year, music giant HMV has opened up 15 pop-up stores across the country in areas where they don’t necessarily have a year round presence. The openings have also coincided with major DVD, CD, games and new technology launches, which of course ensure that the retailer benefits from spikes in footfall. Taking advantage of their temporary stores, HMV will ensure most of the pop-ups remain in place into the New Year to capitalise on the January sales.

A number of fashion pop-ups have appeared across the country, from vintage fashion sales to bespoke fashion designers. Beulah London’s has to be one of my favourites. They have opened their first pop-up for their autumn/winter collection in the glam surroundings of Morton’s Members Club in Mayfair, stocked with the perfect pieces to ensure your bang on trend this party season. On their opening night, in addition to some fizz and canapés, all attendees were treated to complimentary blow-drys to give them that fabulous fashionista look.

Not all pop-ups need to be small scale; Harvey Nicks is getting in on the action opening their first Christmas pop-up, a 4,127 sq ft pop-up store in Westfield Merry Hill shopping centre in Birmingham. The store has been open since the beginning of October and will remain open every day in the run up to Christmas, handy for getting in all that last minute Christmas shopping!

And of course with December being the party season a number of restaurants and bars have opened up various themed pop-ups up and down the country. What I love about them is the¬ eccentricity and randomness. You can find a restaurant in a working man’s boozer, a decadent 1920s Jazz hall or a trendy East London roof top bar. This year however, my favourite has to be ‘Santa Baby’ in Old Street, themed on a 1950 American suburbi, there is something for everyone.

Even eBay is getting involved in this year’s pop-up actions with a special pop-up store in Covent Garden. The whole store is designed with smartphone technology in mind utilising the power of QR codes and augmented reality to bring you up to the minute top trending Christmas gift ideas.

With so much going on this Christmas it can be hard to keep track of what’s popping up when and where. I suggest you check out this pop-up website, The London Pop-up Blog. The site is jam packed with info on every pop-up imaginable from shops, to parties.

Pop-ups are much like mini events and have a particular appeal in the run up to Christmas. Their novelty value provides a helpful sales boost for retailers, encouraging customers to try out and buy brands they may have previously been unfamiliar with. It’s obviously too early to tell what effect the pop up shop is going to have on this year’s Christmas shopping sales, but if anything, they will certainly add some sparkle and fun to the shopping experience.


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