For some time now, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has been studying new ways of bringing additional value to young independent brands in order to give them the opportunity to boost their visibility and grow their audience. For instance, shopping centres have welcomed innovative retail formats such as concept stores gathering several brands or plug-and-play formats for pop-up stores to be aligned with these brands’ need of flexibility and financial accessibility. In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the Group regions sought ways of supporting retailers and especially young brands by putting the spotlight on them. This led to the launch of two pop-up store concepts that helped boost retailers sales and visibility in Slovakia and in the U.K.
The “Pop-Up Sales” in Aupark, Slovakia
“Pop-up Sales” was a pop-up store that opened following the national lockdown in Slovakia. “Pop-up Sales” was created to support tenants and promote sustainability as it encouraged customers to purchase unsold items that would have been burnt otherwise.
When Aupark reopened, the pop-up welcomed 35 brands of the centre during 4 weeks to offer visitors fashion and beauty products on sale in a unique design store.
“Pop-up Sales” also welcomed events, such as workshops and presentations on sustainability, fashion and lifestyle – on topics such as “how to repair your clothes, “how Covid-19 has influenced the fashion industry”, etc.
Thanks to “Pop-up Sales”, the participating brands were also able to gain visibility as they could benefit from additional branding and event promotion through in-situ and digital communication.
“The Incubation Kiosk” in Westfield London and Westfield Stratford, U.K.
The Westfield London and Westfield Stratford centres created the Incubation Kiosk in 2020 to “incubate” small and young independent brands. Imagined as a simple, modular and multi-purpose space, The “Incubation Kiosk” ambition is to provide a cost-effective solution for any brand’s budget whilst maintaining a high level of retail design and display standards. The idea was to give brands enough flexibility to reflect their identity through their merchandising, graphic packages and layouts.
Thanks to this point of sales in a large shopping centre with high footfall, new brands and DNVBs are given access to a larger and new audience to boost their sales and exposure. “The Incubation Kiosk” also enabled the centres to support their communities and drive their CSR message. For example, the Kiosk hosted the brand Make Pivot, a Social Enterprise that empowers people experiencing homelessness to pivot their lives through making and enterprise. They create British, hand-made jewellery in hostels, while co-creating progressive routes out of temporary accommodation.
For URW, showcasing young small brands in this time is a way of giving concrete support to the retail world and it is also an opportunity to quickly facilitate fresh, vibrant, new offers for visitors of these London destinations. Similar pop-ups were launched in the past – Pyramid. at the Carrousel du Louvre in 2019 and then Verishop in Westfield Century City: they reflect the changing nature of retail and the evolution of consumer shopping experience. Besides, both of these pop-up concepts are really interesting for the Group because they can be easily adapted and scaled up in other assets of the URW portfolio.
These 2 pop-up stores are great illustrations of our innovation strategy’s “Strengthen Desire” pillar that focuses on reinventing our destinations to attract visitors and partnering with the most promising brands, the “winners of tomorrow” – such as DNVBs that have still little access to physical retail.Julie Villet