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Macerich Rolls Out BrandBox, Where Online Stores Can Get Physical

Retail REIT Macerich has kicked off a concept it calls BrandBox, a kind of incubator for digital retail brands looking to establish physical stores.

Tysons Corner Center

The concept, which takes up 11K SF of the company's Tysons Corner Center in metro Washington, D.C., will allow brands to open stores without most of the rigmarole that goes with standard retail leasing.

Rather, a brand can occupy a space of its choosing within flexible modular walls and fixtures, and can be up and running in as few as three weeks. The setup is a turnkey approach for retailers, Forbes reports

Unlike standard multiyear leases, BrandBox leases will typically be for six months or a year. There can be as many as six temporary stores in the location, the Washington Business Journal reports.

The first stores to open in BrandBox include Interior Define, a custom home furnishings company; the first physical location for Nectar, an online mattress company; Naadam, a cashmere apparel specialist; flower purveyor UrbanStem; and Winky Lux, an "experiential" cosmetics retailer. 

"This is a good way to allow brands that have never tried a shopping center to test and learn," Macerich Chief Digital Officer Kevin McKenzie told Forbes.

If all goes well, Macerich will expand the concept at Tysons Corner and take it to other properties that it owns, such as Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California, Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Chicago's Shops at North Bridge.

The concept is a variation on pop-up stores, a trend that has grown this decade as retail landlords try to fill empty space left by chains closing or contracting, as well as capitalize on shoppers' new-found appreciation for novel stores. 

For their part, online retailers are using pop-up or temporary store concepts as entries to physical retailing or as part of multichannel retail strategies.