Subterranean retail hubs are booming, especially in countries with harsh climates where controlled environments offer leisure-time respite. But the relatively captive commuter audience has more mileage globally. According to a new report by US property business CBRE (2016), 20% of brands from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa are now targeting travel hubs as an emerging format of expansion.
- Early Adopter: In April 2014, London Underground introduced pop-up store units into key tube stations at Old Street and Piccadilly Circus, in collaboration with Transport for London and UK-based short-term retail specialist Appear Here. They have both since evolved into established retail hot spots, thanks to 12-week long themes, which participating brands are asked to adhere to.
In May 2016, UK e-boutique Ejder and British menswear retailer 24Hourclub reimagined a neglected toilet and shower room at the Old Street site, turning it into a contemporary space selling menswear and limited edition accessories.
- Trialling a Downsized Format: In April 2016, Danish variety store Tiger expanded its UK reach by opening its first small footprint store in London’s St. James’s Park tube station. At just 700 sq ft, the store carries a condensed selection of its usual products range. See also Downsized Retail Destinations.