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UK's 'pop-up' retail sector now worth £2.3bn

The UK economy is now boosted to the tune of £2.3 billion thanks to the nation’s pop-up retail sector, according to a report published by EE and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The study, titled ‘Britain’s Pop Up Retail Economy’, found that approximately 10,000 pop-up shops were launched in the last 12 months, with more than two-fifths (44 per cent) of consumers having visited a pop-up shop in this period.

The sector is said to have expanded at a rate of 12.3 per cent and currently employs more than 26,000 people, with the recovery said to mark the “revival of the nation’s high streets”.

EE has also indicated a blurring of the lines between traditional retail stores and pop-up shops, with pop-ups increasingly utilising permanent outlets and traditional retailers beginning to prefer the flexibility of pop-up spaces.

But despite the renaissance of the pop-up industry, the report claims poor technology infrastructure is holding pop-up retailers back. Two-fifths (40 per cent) are unable to accept card payments and a quarter (25 per cent) have lost sales due to inefficient stock management systems.

Rob Harbron, managing economist, CEBR, said: “Pop-up retail is continuing to become an increasingly viable platform for both people with new business ideas and for established businesses looking to engage with customers in new and innovative ways.

“Successful retailers increasingly need to offer customers the ability to shop when and where they want.

“As such, the flexibility of pop-up stores makes the format increasingly attractive. However, without appropriate investment in technology, efficiently co-ordinating a range of platforms is becoming increasingly challenging for businesses.”

In accordance with the report, EE has promised to supply Connected Retail bundles for pop-up retailers, which feature 4G tablets, contactless iZettle payment devices and the Shopwave point of sale app to increase flexibility and productivity.

Mike Tomlinson, director of small business, EE, added: “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.”

Image: eyeliam

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