Opportunity for British start-ups to pop up in Piccadilly

PopUp Britain, the retail arm of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, has announced it is to open a flagship pop-up shop on London’s Piccadilly after agreeing a deal with The Crown Estate to take space at its recently completed St James’s Gateway development.

The initiative, which is aimed at helping to support the high street entrepreneurs of the future, will offer up to 60 retail start-ups a week-long opportunity to sell their products on one of the world’s most recognisable thoroughfares and gain valuable customer insight.

The shop will open on August 12 and will trade for six weeks. The theme for the first week on Piccadilly will be ‘Made in Britain’.

StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “Securing a store like this in St James’s Piccadilly is like hitting the retail jackpot!

“We expect to be inundated by applications from British start-up businesses eager to get their products onto one of the busiest shopping streets in the world.

“We started PopUp Britain from an estate agents’ shop in Richmond that had been empty for a year. This shop in Piccadilly will be our eighth, with more on the way across the country. In a year we have helped around 200 British start-ups get affordable, short-term access to the high street, while avoiding long leases and costly legal transactions.

“We are honoured to have secured such decisive backing from The Crown Estate. It means we can offer an incredible experience to British start-ups – something that otherwise wouldn’t be achievable for many fledgling brands.”

The £100 million St James’s Gateway redevelopment is the first scheme to be delivered as part of The Crown Estate’s £500 million investment programme for the area, designed to redefine St James’s as a destination for quality shopping. It is set to welcome internationally renowned fashion brands such as Tiger of Sweden over the coming months.

James’s Cooksey, head of The Crown Estate’s St James’s Portfolio said: “Encouraging emerging new brands is a really important part of our long term vision for retail in St James’s which will see us further enhance the area’s reputation as a destination for quality shopping.”

Pop up Britain offers short-term opportunities to start-ups and micro businesses from all over the UK. It is part of a pioneering initiative aimed at matching online retail start-ups with empty high street shops. The scheme, which is backed by private sector funding, has so far opened shops in Poulton-Le-Fylde, near Blackpool, Camberley in Surrey, Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire as well as several around London.

Mark Little, UK managing director of PopUp Britain sponsor Intuit UK, said: “PopUp Britain has clearly found a model for regenerating the high street that benefits landlords, retailers and customers alike and it is great to see the project going from strength to strength. We’re proud to have been supporting pop-up retailers from the start of the project by providing a low cost way for them to take card payments and never miss a sale with Intuit Pay and we look forward to seeing even more small businesses given the opportunity to thrive in this prestigious West End retail destination.”

The scheme is also being supported by leading high street retailer John Lewis, which is supplying £5,000 worth of furniture and expertise for free.