They are “here today, gone tomorrow,” “for a limited time only,” and every other imaginable cliché of classic retail marketing. “Pop-up stores” — boutiques set up for just a few days or months — aim for old-fashioned selling, repackaged into modern retail therapy.
Last month, Target opened up four stores in Manhattan dubbed Bullseye Bodegas, and sold designer-brand clothing and housewares at basement prices – but only for four days.
“The idea is to build excitement for the brand,” said Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman who helped set up the shops in SoHo, Midtown, Union Square, and East Village. The stores were decorated with Andy Warlhol-esque Pop Art, by David Stark, a top design firm. The merchandise included creations from more than 22 designers.
“It’s a buzz marketing tool for us,” said Thomas.
With consumers and corporations tightening their fiscal belts, some retailers see these shops as an antidote to the troubled economy and the astronomical cost of Manhattan real estate. Delta Airlines, The Gap, and Nike also have jumped on the concept, opening “quick and dirty” shops that sell a company’s overstock or new signature product.
Thomas said Target pioneered the concept in New York in 2002, when the company docked a ferry on the Hudson River in Chelsea.
For the New Yorkers hankering for a $40 Anya Hindmarch designer handbag, though unwilling to travel to Target stores on 224th Street in the Bronx or at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Center, the shops were a happy find. Target hopes to bring the bullseye to Manhattan permanently. The company has looked at taking over the Kmart at Astor Place, The New York Times reported, though Thomas was unable to confirm this.