by Sara Rizk

Small businesses must embrace the notion of short-lease stores during the festive period and beyond

The lead up to Christmas offers some interesting options for new and small companies. Around the UK, temporary stores are quite literally popping up in shopping centers and empty retail outlets, making the most of increased consumer demand at this time of year. Temporary retail spaces can draw in buyers more quickly because of their novelty.

PPop-ups enable small businesses to try out new locations or arrangements, without having to commit to a more costly, permanent outlet, which undoubtedly makes commercial sense. Since the recession began, high streets up and down the country have witnessed the tragic closure of numerous shops, consequently resulting in empty retail spaces, which landlords are desperate to fill. With increasing numbers of empty units, small businesses are in a stronger position to negotiate cheaper letting rates.

The pop-up system, which extends to restaurants, bars, cinemas and other similar outlets, is an excellent opportunity for small companies. Shops, manufacturers, service providers, small businesses can gain enormously from setting up temporary shops.

There are also potential opportunities, for businesses with temporary stores that do particularly well, to prolong the lease, or to open the store more permanently. Last Christmas, HMV launched 10 provisional stores around Britain, with five consequently becoming permanent.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) highly recommend pop-ups. Its head of enterprise, Clive Lewis, says: "In the lead up to Christmas, retailers are looking for new ways to push up sales. Pop-up shops can help with this as they are around for a limited period and create a sense of urgency to buy, particularly as there is a peak in customer demand during the festive season. They also provide a chance for new businesses to test the water and see how their product would sell in a live situation as opposed to selling online."

AHere are a few successful examples:

The Marmite shop in four UK Selfridges stores: The Marmite shop opened its doors in October this year and will stay open until Christmas. This follows on from its successful temporary store in London's Regent Street last year.

Pop-up HMV stores in 18 UK- locations Gennaro Castaldo, of HMV says they're great for trialling new areas before committing to a permenant retail presence there.

One-day 'Craft Fox' pop-up in Brixton market, December 11. Organiser, Sinead Devlin, who sells handmade jewellery, says: "I noticed a lack of good craft markets in London, and so decided to create a one-day event. Pop-ups provide an opportunity for vendors to test the market to see if there's interest in their products. I've been approached by people asking if I'll organise more markets around London, so I'll see how this one goes first."

Artist Ali Miller's Christmas pop-up shop at framing firm John Jones' gallery in Finsbury Park. Taking place this November and December, the store sells handmade cards, ceramics and wallpaper. Ali says: "My artwork is all about time and memories and so I thought the whole concept of a pop-up shop was very appropriate for my work. So far the shop has gone really well, and I'm thinking of extending it into January."

Why not add a little Christmas cheer to your bank account this year by increasing your profits with a pop-up.

About the Author: is your number 1 Internet resource for starting a business. If you are a budding entrepreneur ready to start a business for the first time or you have just started a business, we have all the news and information you need to get your small business starting on the right foot.. Free reprint available from: Christmas pop-up stores.