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HMV and Jessops' Administrators In Talks To Temporarily Offer Empty Shopspace To SMEs

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JESSOPS HMV SMES POP UPS
Could empty shops be lent to struggling SMEs as pop up locations? | Alamy

Could there be some good news to come out of Jessops and HMV falling into administration?

A group of pop-up experts is in talks with Deloitte and PwC in a bid to re-open hundreds of the now defunct stores to help home-grown British businesses for a short period.

The newly-formed PopUp Forum includes Dan Thompson from the Empty Shops Network, Emma Jones, from national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain and Nick Russell from We Are Pop Up.

Emma Jones said in a press release: "We're working with the administrators' lawyers to contact landlords and take control of a percentage of the newly-closed shops, with a view to offering affordable retail spaces to small and start-up British retail businesses, on a rolling basis.

"Last year may have been a bad year for big retailers, but it was a record year for British start-ups. Our local high streets are in trouble - and yet what small retail business wouldn't give their right arm for the chance to trade in their own communities, generating sales and awareness of their brand?"

The Huffington Post UK understands that the forum could even help businesses into the empty shots while negotiations with Jessops and HMV's creditors are ongoing, depending on individual negotiations with each landlord.

Nick Russell added: "The job of administration is a long and arduous process that can take years. What we've asked for is the chance to throw open boarded-up shops for an agreed time to small businesses and give consumers the chance to support British enterprise."

PopUp Britain is currently being showcased at the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and sees six small businesses and start-ups co-funding and co-working in a retail space for two weeks at a time. A specific pop-up lease has been developed to cover legal issues - read more about the launch event with Eric Pickles here.

According to recent stats from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), 11.3% of shops are now empty. And another BRC poll of MPs found two-thirds believe high streets in their constituencies have deteriorated noticeably over the last five years.

Dan Thompson, who wrote Pop Up Business For Dummies, said: "Creative, independent shops and businesses are a growing part of the British economy right now. Times are hard yes, but resourceful people are making business ideas come to life and are reinventing the high street."

Filed by Charlie Thomas