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Pop-Up Shops Benefit From Empty High Street

(c) Sky News 2012

With 20 shops closing every day on Britain's high streets, some premises are being temporarily rented out for as little as £1 a week to pop-up businesses.

One in six premises now stands empty compared with one in 20 at the start of the recession, according to retail research firm the Local Data Company.

So could pop-up shops help alleviate the situation?

"I've heard of examples of some shops going for as little as £1 a week because the landlord is saying to himself, I think these people have got a good product and if I give them a month or two at a cheap rate they may want to stay longer and then I can charge a commercial rate, " said Jerry Blackett from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

In Birmingham's Great Western Arcade, No 22, a jewellery shop showcasing the talent of young, local designers, moved into premises which had stood empty for months.

Silversmith and mentor Kerry O'Connor said: "We pay rates and all the bills and we get a reduced rent.

"It works both ways that we can stay here potentially as long as we want but likewise if somebody comes along who wants to take on a proper lease we could get kicked out within a month."

No 22 is paid for by European funding and a local council who are keen to help fledgling businesses and promote Birmingham as a centre of jewellery excellence.

"The pop-up encourages people to come to the arcade and see something new," said Carol Alderson from Birmingham City Council.

"We've put out flyers around the city, we've emailed, lots of people have gone on the website, it encourages new people into the arcade which should have a knock-on effect on the other businesses with people coming into the pop-up shop."

Designer Karen Collis said: "It's a brilliant opportunity to showcase my work for the first time really because I only graduated in June so I can test the market to see if people like the stuff that I'm making and also there's the opportunity to sell, I sold a piece yesterday, it was exciting."

Pop-ups come and go quickly, so it's not known how many are trading, or their impact.

But those involved with No 22 recognise that no-one benefits from premises standing empty.