NEW YORK — The glut of vacant retail space is offering plenty of opportunities for temporary stores and pop-ups whose lifespan is measured in months, weeks or even days.
Ebay on Monday began filling with products a 5,000-square-foot three-dimensional equivalent of its online self at 3 West 57th Street. EBay, with platforms for trading goods and services auction-style, payments and communications, wanted people to see what just a fraction of its inventory would look like in a store — even if only for five days.
“They’ve taken this fabulous retail space among all these great neighbors and decided to create the brick-and-mortar experience of what eBay is,” a spokeswoman said. “There will be ‘wow’ items, including lots of clothing, shoes and accessories.”
The company said its holiday preview event would showcase a diverse selection of new and used merchandise from Louis Vuitton, Apple and Barneys New York, which, coincidentally, happen to operate stores within blocks of the eBay pop-up.
Ebay is leasing space in a neighborhood with a high pedigree. Bergdorf Goodman is just east of the space, which previously housed auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg. The location, said the spokeswoman, “is at the physical and metaphorical intersection of shopping, pop culture, high style and creativity.”
Rents of $500 a square foot on West 57th Street are not uncommon, according to real estate brokers. Ebay declined to comment on how much it is paying.
EBay has been attempting a turnaround following a year-long slide. The e-commerce company on July 22 said second-quarter sales dropped 4 percent. Marketplace revenues declined 14 percent, but sales at PayPal rose 11 percent. Nonetheless, the results beat Wall Street’s expectations.
This isn’t eBay’s first high-profile event in Manhattan. The company in June broadcast “Let’s Make a Daily Deal!” a TV show in Times Square on digital billboards. “Without a doubt [eBay is] stepping up advertising, marketing and media,” the spokeswoman said. “They’re definitely making a statement about who they are and what they have.”
Also taking advantage of unleased retail space is Daffy’s, which is opening a 1,100-square-foot pop-up store at 1 Seventh Avenue South at Carmine Street. Marcia Wilson, Daffy’s chief executive officer, said she found the retail space when she leased a luxury two-bedroom apartment in the same building for use as the top prize in a contest. An ad campaign themed around the contest shows the apartment with the words “Reg. price: $7,000. Our price, $700.” The market rent and the $700 a month rent the winner will pay underscores the savings consumers can find at Daffy’s, Wilson said.
“Everybody’s on sale today,” she added. “Today, you see major department stores running huge sales. When other retailers go back to doing business as they do,” Daffy’s will still be offering discounts, she said. “It’s our business model, not their business model.”
The temporary store will feature merchandise for women, men and children. “We have no store in the West Village,” Wilson said. “It’s an interesting location.” As for a permanent store, she said, “I’m open to any good location. We’re looking, as are plenty of other people, because there’s plenty of opportunities out there now.”