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Our highly qualified specialist shop surveyors will offer you advice on your commercial property problems and can carry out a building survey on your prospective purchase.  We can prepare a Commercial Building Survey or a Schedule of Condition and Property Report in relation to your lease.  We carry out dilaps reports for landlords or tenants saving our clients tens of thousands of pounds.

Please free phone us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.

What is a Pop-Up Shop?

A relatively new term on the High Street, pop-up shops – this refers to shops that pop-up and arrive for a few months, which is both of benefit to the shop landlord and the budding retailer, who then both gain from having a shop that would otherwise be empty, filled and trading and as it is trading it will then be making rent.  It is after all, what being a shop landlord is all about.

Pop-Up Shops – why you should always have a Schedule of Condition

We would always recommend it is always best to have a Schedule of Condition as this limits your liability and shows anyone both for negotiation purposes and legally if so required, what the shop was like when you walked in.  It does depend upon, of course, the agreement that you have and you are best to take advice from a Solicitor or a Chartered Surveyor on this matter who specialises in this type of work.

Seasonal Pop-Up Shops

For many years we have had in the UK what we would term as seasonal pop-up shops.  These are stores that just arrive for a particular seasonal activity.  Traditional seasonal pop-up stores include things such as Christmas shops and fireworks but we have also come across a Halloween pop-up shop and also a collectables pop-up shop or rather group of shops and in this case, although they popped up near Christmas, they were perhaps a bit more specialist than the type of Christmas pop up that is just selling Christmas decorations.

Was this the first pop-up shop?

The first pop-up shop that we ever came across was in Brighton, that we saw develop over the years, which was where a street trader selling handmade art goods had the idea of combining an empty shop, a charity and his business together. This produced a rather novel pop-up shop that sold one off works of art that the artist had made and eventually other artists’ work, as well as taking charity donations and having a novel approach of a free book shop at the back of the shop.

Were Charity shops the original pop-up shops?

It could also be argued that charity shops were originally the first pop-up shops that you saw in many numbers, filling vacant shop properties across the country. These pop-up shops, of course, gave landlords the benefit of improved rates and benefitted the charities with their charity status and all the advantages that go with this. We think it is fair to say that generally you cannot go into any city, town or village without finding charity shops in place across Britain.

Ironically, many charity shops are now working as businesses and they do pay rents and are generally considered as a tenant in the right area.

What kind of tenants want a Pop-Up Shop?

We have mentioned previously that the recent pop-up tenants were charities in all sorts of varieties. This of course gave the charities very good collection points to gather donations and also very good retail space to sell donations. We have come across two types of pop-up shop or what we would describe as two types of pop-up shops:-

1. The retail of small charity goods shops

The retail of small charity goods shops such as books, gifts, clothes tends to be in a High Street location and also the retailing of furniture, which sometimes, can be in a High Street location if larger shops are available as often it is harder to fill the larger shops in the poor areas than the smaller shops though they can be a welcome sight to the landlord too.

2. The retail of furniture and electrical goods shops

The retail of furniture and electrical goods shops such as charities wanting a large property can be a welcome sight to the landlord too. But we have also come across pop-up shops or are they shops / warehouses in industrial estates where larger furniture and electrical goods are gathered and collected, sorted and possibly sent to smaller retail pop-up shops.

Street traders becoming Pop-up Shops

Probably a logical extension of someone who is a street trader working on a market or similar is to move to a pop-up shop to see how it works for their business and for them as well.

Indeed many successful retailers have started their businesses trading initially on market stalls then later transferring to retail units such as Sir Philip Green who some call King of the High Street and Lord Sugar of Amstrad fame.

Is the future of shops online trading?

From an online business to a bricks and mortar business albeit on a Pop-up temporary basis

Newcomers to the High Street are companies moving into the bricks and mortar of the High Street are online traders, some of these can be well established, wanting an outlet for their goods during seasonal times such as Christmas.  This then also gives customers a chance of ‘click & collect’, this is clicking on the purchase online and then collecting from a real store.

We have heard it said that this is going to be the next growth market in online shopping, but having said that, the comment was made from a retailer who has numerous shops and a good online presence.

We have also read about many success stories where online traders have moved to bricks and mortar in the form of a pop-up shops very successfully.

Are Pop-up shops the future of UK High Streets?

The only certainty about the UK High Street as we now know it and have known it for many, many years, is that the High Street will change. The High Street changes as we are all aware due to the changing retail markets and there have been instances where we thought retail chains were almost unstoppable and but have come to an end and new businesses have come in to take their place such as Woolworths, selling in a slightly different way and a slightly different view such as Wilkinson, Poundland, the Card Factory etc.  It could be argued that this has always been the way of the High Street, it is just that now it tends to be quicker and more severe when you get it wrong for example Comet, who were a popular electrical goods retailer in the UK for seventy nine years who suffered with worsening performance on the High Street finally going into liquidation.

Even our large food retailers have had a massive building/expansion programme over the years and are hit by newcomers to the food trade and also understand that they must have a good online presence.  Tesco suffered with competition taking some of their market share with companies such as Lidl and Aldi becoming more popular and expanding into former Tesco dominated territories.

How can Surveyors help in the Pop-up shop scenario?

As commercial building Surveyors we have been asked to prepare Schedules of Conditions for landlords before the pop-up shop scenario begins and we have also worked for tenants where they have a pop-up shop then decided to take a on a shop.  We would advise that both landlord and tenant have to take great care with this scenario as it moves into a completely different realm from a legal point of view – from a licence to a lease. Responsibilities change considerably as well as benefits and of course there becomes the Dilapidations liability for the tenants – read more about dilaps by taking a look at our dilaps help website www.DilapsHelp.com

Example shop surveys

We have years and years of surveying experience in all types of property. We can let you have examples surveys of shops.

Please contact us on free phone 0800 298 5424 to receive example building surveys.

Surveying articles

The above article has been written to stimulate debate and discussion. We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).


The content of the website is for general information and entertainment only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be taken before making such a decision.

Free phone 1stAssociated.co.uk on 0800 298 5424.


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