by Dan Rafter
Is it good news or bad news when the same Halloween pop-up store opens its doors in your local strip mall every year?
On the plus side, it’s nice to see that space filled, if even for a two-month-or-so period. On the negative? It’d be better if that retail space became home to a year-round business.
In the Chicago suburb where I live, three Halloween specialty shops have already opened their doors in local strip malls. There’s a reason for this: Halloween has become big business.
Consider that last year, the National Retail Federation predicted that consumers would spend $6.9 billion on Halloween costumes, candy and events. The federation predicted that consumers would spend $330 million on pet costumes alone.
And that’s not the only source of revenue generated by this holiday. The Haunted Attraction Association reports that Halloween haunted houses have become big business, too. No longer is it enough for scarers to paint their faces green or cover themselves in white sheets.
Haunted attraction owners and operators spend millions of dollars on special effects, audio animatronic creates and Hollywood-quality makeup. Others spend the entire year developing back stories and plot lines for their haunted houses. The Haunted Attraction Association reports that some even meet with psychologists to determine how to best scare their visitors.
So don’t be surprised to see a Halloween store pop up near you. Pop-up retailers are a growing businesses today — expect to see more of them during the winter holidays. And Halloween stores? They provide valuable income to often-struggling retail centers, at least in September and October each year.
A 2013 story from Forbes illustrates just how profitable Halloween pop-up stores can be. Retailer Spencer Gifts told Forbes that about half of its estimated $250 million in revenue now comes from its Spirit Halloween brand of pop-up stores. That’s impressive when you consider that Spirit generates this revenue during a roughly two-month period.
And pop-up stores aren’t just Halloween-themed these days. You’ll find such temporary stores selling Christmas decorations and Valentine’s Day treats. Market research firm IBISWorld said that last year pop-up stores of all kinds in the United States totaled 2,459. That, IBISWorld said, is up from 2,043 in 2009.