Temporary shops that are here to stay

Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:38pm EDT
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By Matt Cowan and Mark Potter

LONDON (Reuters) - Shops happen. Like viral online ad campaigns, temporary big brand outlets are sneaking up on European streets, filling vacancies opened by the credit crunch and building a buzz that's relatively cheap.

One example is tucked away on a side street in the shell of an old railway arch. Only open from Thursday to Sunday, the Nike store in Shoreditch, east London, was originally planned just for the duration of last year's Olympic Games.

Now the sporting goods giant says the secretive format, selling high-end ranges and occasional exclusives, has proved such a hit with those in the know it's staying.

"If you find it, it's like a cool thing," said store manager Nehjat Ramoth, between arranging minimalist shoe displays in the cavernous black interior.

"It's to help the brand, but also keep the exclusivity of certain products," he said. "We had people who queued last week for one shoe from 10 o'clock the night before."

Retailers and designers experimenting with temporary -- or "pop-up" -- shops are also re-energizing bricks-and-mortar shopping, adding variety to an experience which globalization has tended to dull.

The Nike store, named 1948 after the last year London hosted a summer Olympic Games, has attracted a cult following by creating a running club and offering dance lessons to the local community as well as an alternative to replica store fronts.

"It is just a different experience, you are not bombarded, you are not bumped in to," said Marc Harris, 34, who works in sports marketing and stopped by on his Vespa to try on a top.   Continued...

<p>Products are seen on display inside the temporary Nike store in Shoreditch, East London April 30, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>