Set up a pop-up shop

Find the right premises for a pop-up shop


Location is a key element to pop-up shop success. A short term business cannot compete effectively in traditional advertising markets, so footfall and accessibility hold greater importance.

Points to consider include:

  • A pop-up retail shop should ideally be located in, or near to, a prime retail area. Few high streets, town centres or retail parks will be operating a 100 per cent occupancy rate so you should be able to find suitable prime location premises.
  • An established business may prefer to use traditional retail space in a shopping centre to promote their service or new product. Large centres will be familiar with short term arrangements, whether in full shop units or pop-up units in a concourse.
  • Using a vacant shop premises can bring other benefits.  Vacated shops may retain some fixtures and fittings from the previous let, which could be utilised to reduce costs eg a kitchen area, point of sale furniture and fittings.
  • Non-traditional premises can be a lure to potential customers. A disused warehouse, street trading or office premises may be an option for a pop-up business. Check with your local council about operating a business within particular premises on a short term basis - see local council contact details in Northern Ireland.

Negotiating a short term let

Commercial landlords will be looking for the stable income of a long term let. However, the income from a short term let, as well as demonstrating to prospective future tenants that customer footfall is strong in the area, means a deal can be struck to suit both parties.

You should contact local commercial agents to discuss your plan. Agents can be key brokers in persuading reluctant landlords to let their premises for the short term. Talking through your idea can allay any fears, and if you hope to build a more permanent business if your pop-up shop is a success, this may be an opportunity for a future long term let.

To find local commercial estate agents in Northern Ireland you can search our directory of local companies. Alternatively, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) provides a search for commercial property agents.

Occupying previously vacant retail premises may mean the property incurs an increase in rates. It is important to establish at the outset how any increase will be paid for - see non-domestic vacant rating.