Retail Pulse: Nike Opens Atlanta SNKRS Pop-Up; FAO Schwarz Plans London Store


Big brands are opening pop-up shops chock full of digital commerce technology and experiences for fans, and Nike is no exception. The company recently opened a SNKRS Pop-Up shop in Atlanta — as the city gears up for Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Patriots and the Rams — that will remain in the city until March.

The sportswear company said the store would feature limited-edition styles that will rotate. Items available for sale will range from the Air Force 1 drops to The Ten Collection — items that Nike said in an online post are “specific to Atlanta’s vibe.” To make a purchase, users of the store’s eponymous SNKRS app can select a shoe and buy it within an app. The items are then sent through a “transparent wall,” and then the consumer can retrieve their purchases through a compartment.

Nike North America Media Relations Director Josh Benedek told Front Office Sports that the company took the “heavy lifting” out of shopping with its checkout experience: “All your preferences, all your credit card payments, everything like that is already set up on your phone. You can just come here and do what you like to do, which is the fun part, looking at shoes. It makes that purchasing much easier.” Those who do not have the app, however, can pay “in-person,” according to the outlet.

Beyond the pop-up shop, the retailer is opening a “Studio of Dreams” Super Bowl Content Studio on the same block. That space will have hoodies, jerseys and T-shirts as well as an accessory bar. And, through an experiential component, shoppers will be able to have a photo shoot with Cam Kirk. (He has photographed celebrities like T.I. and Gucci Mane.) In addition, Nike said that the space has a “turf-covered training space ripe for working out.”

The news comes a few months after Nike opened a digitally-powered flagship in New York City. The store’s concept, which was dubbed Nike NYC, was to blend the online and offline worlds with the help of smartphones. Within the space, Nike was to provide an Instant Checkout experience that allows members of the company’s NikePlus program to swap the checkout line for the program’s app instead. And, similar to the pop-up shop, the flagship store also has an experiential component.

In the a space located on the fifth floor of the flagship, the company allows shoppers to interact with “Nike Experts.” Another feature, the “Nike by You Studio,” provides them with one-on-one styling, exclusive products and the ability to make personalized items. And, on the fourth floor, the company said it has the “largest concentration of seasonally current Nike footwear anywhere in the globe.”

Between its flagship and pop-up shop, brands like Nike are incorporating mobile payments along with experiences into their new retail spaces as they head into a digital future.

In Other Brick-And-Mortar News

Nordstrom is planning to close two locations at the beginning of April — even as it opens two full-line locations this year. The stores slated for closure include a location at the MacArthur Center in Virginia and a store at The Mall at Wellington Green in Florida. It has also been reported that the retailer has shuttered roughly two locations each year in recent times.

The retailer is said to leave underperforming malls or locations that are near other, higher-performing Nordstrom stores. In one case, the retailer had said that it planned to shutter a store in the under-performing Providence Place mall in January. That store is located only 45 minutes away from one of its Boston-area locations.

In other news, Giant Food is getting ready to open the doors to an eCommerce hub in Pennsylvania next month. The 38,000 square-foot Lancaster facility, which is dubbed Giant Direct Powered by Peapod, will serve as a grocery delivery center as well as a curbside pickup location. It will have “Pick Up Here” spaces in the parking lot, where online customers can have their orders are brought to their cars.

Giant President Nicholas Bertram said, according to Supermarket News, that the facility is “a completely new concept for us and a first of its kind in our area.” The supermarket chain, which is owned by Ahold Delhaize USA, also explained that the hub will expand its delivery reach farther into greater Lancaster communities. Plans for the hub were revealed last summer as part of the supermarket chain’s $22 million investment in the county.

On another note, a 20,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz store is set to come to London. The space will be located inside of a Selfridges department store in the city, which the company describes as its first ever flagship location in Europe. It will be home to a large collection of toys as well as interactive experiences. The store, whose grand opening is set for November, is said to be modeled after the company’s new Manhattan location.

The company, which has been in existence since around the early 1860s, has had a tumultuous run: In 2009, Toys R Us bought the brand, and it had about 40 stores across the country. That was eventually whittled down to only one location, on Fifth Avenue in New York City. ThreeSixty Group, a company that makes and distributes toys and various other products, then bought FAO in 2016.

To stay in the know about the latest trends in brick-and-mortar, check out next week’s Retail Pulse.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.