The popularity of pop up shops is on the rise, with everyone from retailers to caterers, sports clubs to brands, taking advantage of their many benefits.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research into Britain’s ‘pop up retail economy’ reveals there are now more than 10,500 pop ups in use in the UK, employing around 26,000 people and generating £2.3 billion in revenue.

And it’s easy to see why there is such a buzz around them:

5 reasons pop up shops are so great

  1. Low cost – they are low cost to get up and running, especially compared to bricks and mortar constructions
  2. Effective – they are an effective way to get in front of a target audience and a reported 44% of consumers say they have visited a pop-up shop in the last 12 months
  3. Quick and easy to set up – experienced suppliers such as Rapid Retail can design, build and install a unit in as little as 2-3 weeks for a standard design, and around 8 weeks for bespoke projects
  4. Flexible – they can be used for a broad range of applications, from retail and merchandise sales, to providing services, bars and catering
  5. Visible – they can be designed to work for any available space, enabling brands to capture sales and raise awareness in high footfall areas

Why might you use one?

There are many reasons why you might use a pop up shop:

  • To sell products or services
  • To test a market
  • To get in front of a target audience – such as at an event
  • To raise awareness – including through experiential marketing
  • To supplement existing facilities – especially if internal space is in short supply

Pop up shops are also increasingly being used by ecommerce retailers, blurring the line between online and offline shopping.

What are the planning rules for pop up shops?

A key part of your planning should be to ensure you are aware of and compliant with, all relevant rules and regulations that may apply to your project.

In July 2013, the Government announced a relaxation in ‘change of use class’ planning law. What this means is that it is now easier and cheaper to use pop-up shops.

Any shops and restaurants under 150 sq m that are operated in an existing commercial space, can be used without planning permission for up to two years. However, there are some exceptions and anything larger is still likely to need planning permission.

It’s always wise to do your research. Investigate and conduct due diligence early in the process, to reduce the risk of any unplanned costs or delays down the line.

What licenses might you need?

Depending on the type of activity you are planning, you may also need specific licenses.

For example, if you will be selling alcohol, playing music or setting up in certain types of locations.

You can check what licenses you may need, using this free tool on the website: license checker.

Get a quote

The team at Rapid Retail has been supplying pop up shops to customers across the UK and Europe for more than a decade. From small portable shops, to large stadium fan zones.

The units we supply are available to buy or rent, with rental priced starting at just £50 per week. For more information or a quote, please call us on 44+ (0)1386 555044 or email

Pop up shops in action: