The new wave of pop up retail taking as little as 62 square feet

Pop up retail has long been playing the how-small-can-you-go game. National commercial property and investment company LCP has entered the fray with its new Microshops concept, which it is billing as ‘the biggest change in retail for 50 years’.

Aimed at attracting fledgling retailers who want to try their first bricks and mortar selling space, LCP has launched Microshops in eight towns where it owns and manages retail centres.

So far, dozens of start up retailers have taken space in pods as small as 62 sq ft up to spaces spanning 600 sq ft, with entrepreneurial tenants including: illustrators, florists, music producers, artists, galleries and traders selling accessories, kids clothes, women’s clothes, succulents, vintage clothes, furniture, vinyl records, jewellery, sweets and coffee.

Lisa McAlinden, property manager at LCP, says what makes the Microshops concept different from other similar ventures is the versatility of the retail pods and the ultimate all-inclusive, flexible contracts that are available on an affordable rolling-quarterly basis.

“We offer a very simple, no deposit, flexible terms, the space to fit out and build their pod into whatever they envisage,” tells McAlinden. “We just like to be informed and aware of the works and design. As long as you give the space back in the condition you were given it, then your space is your own.”

The idea for Microshops came from identifying a common theme that was appearing at various sites across the country: large voids that had high occupational costs and rates, and a lack of tenants wanting to occupy such large spaces.

“After developing a pop-up concept with flexible terms in a vacant unit in Margate, we could see the need for creating a space for people and businesses who wouldn’t have been able to ever sign up for a retail shop of their own,” she explains. LCP then explored the idea of rolling out this concept across the portfolio under the Microshops brand.

Town centres such as Margate and Thornaby, which already have active Microshop sites, are proving popular with tenants and locals alike. McAlinden says the the message of shop local and support independents really is being taken on board by all: “The lockdown of 2020 has helped fuel people’s conscious buying habits and we are seeing people respond positively to the eclectic range of independents across our Microshops sites.

“We are committed to ensuring this is a high-quality brand that will become nationally recognised as synonymous with entrepreneurs and start-ups who want to create, build and sell without the worry of extra costs.”

The Microshops are currently active at: Pavilion Shopping Centre, Thornaby-on-Tees; The Centre, Margate; The Wellington Centre, Aldershot; The East Gate Centre, Ipswich; and The Hardshaw Centre, St Helens; Govan Cross Shopping Centre, Govan Cross; Penicuik Shopping Centre, Penicuik; and Airdrie Retail Park, Airdrie. There are now plans in the works for a unit in Leighton Buzzard and exploring upsizing the concept in Margate.

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

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