Turning Adversity Into Opportunity

Posted on 21st January 2013

Following the recent sad demise of high street chains Jessops and HMV, three UK business campaigns have joined forces to urge the businesses’ administrators to allow them to turn the empty branches of the stores into pop-up shops for entrepreneurs.

The new enterprise, called PopUp Forum has been started by pop-up shop finder service We Are Pop Up, the Empty Shops Network, which is the information service for unused shop space and StartUp Britain.

Between them the shop chains have over 400 stores throughout the UK and Ireland, which could be invaluable space for small firms and entrepreneurs starting up.

The Forum is proposing that all boarded-up high street shops are made available at affordable rates to hundreds of small businesses that can be offered affordable retail spaces on a rolling basis and for an agreed time throughout the long and drawn out administration process.

The hope is that, although last year may have been a bad year for big retailers, this could be turned into an opportunity for entrepreneurs, as 2012 was a record year for British start-ups.

As Emma Jones of StartUp Britain said, what small retail business wouldn’t give for the chance to trade in their own communities, generating sales and awareness of their brand?

There are plenty of empty retail premises that could benefit from being turns into a popup shop, as the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium show that over 11 per cent of shops are standing empty.

However, London Stock Exchange listed HMV, which has more than 4,300 employees across its 239 stores has not yet closed definitively and its Chief Executive, Trevor Moore, remains confident that the business will continue to trade, meaning that the individual stores may not be available anyway.

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