Walmart Offers In-Store Leases for Small Businesses

Short-term lease options are available through a new partnership with Popable.

November 03, 2022

HOUSTON—Walmart has partnered with Popable, a pop-up shop marketplace platform that connects brands with short-term retail leasing, to allow small businesses to rent retail space inside Walmart stores.

Brands and spaces can both list on Popable's website. Small businesses can then be paired with their local participating Walmart to connect and enter a short-term lease. The timeframe of these leasing agreements will be predetermined by the small business and can range in time from a month up to a year but could grow to a longer-term agreement. The terms are decided and negotiated by the brands and spaces directly themselves.

"The growth opportunities for emerging brands are at the heart of Popable's pop-up shop platform. We are excited to partner with Walmart to bring new brands to local communities while providing small business owners the ability to thrive with some great built-in foot traffic," said Scott Blair, co-founder and CEO of Popable. "For retailers emerging from a challenging year in the face of post-COVID impacts ranging from rising economic concerns to delivery issues at the ports, pop-up retail could be a great way to move excess inventory."

Popable says the global pandemic and its impact caused many small businesses to close. Through this partnership, startups and small businesses will have the chance to bounce back in time for the holidays, suggests Popable.

"Supporting small businesses has always been a priority for Walmart. We are proud to work with Popable to offer local brands an opportunity to grow inside our stores," said Darryl Spinks, senior director of retail services for Walmart. "This is a great example of our focus on offering services unique to the neighborhoods we serve through our store of the community initiative."

Retail Dive reports that rent delinquency rate for small retailers was 31% in September and climbed to 43% in late October. The small spaces at Walmart could allow brands to cut costs on physical spaces, but also create showrooms for shoppers to visualize and test products before buying them.

According to research by the NPD Group, online shopping will see its first major decline this holiday season. Eighty percent of shoppers surveyed said they plan to shop online this year, down from 85% in 2021. But online shopping plans are still up from 2019 and earlier—76% of shoppers had planned to shop online in 2019.

Merchants are embracing holiday shoppers earlier this year, as big-box retailers, including Walmart and Target, offer early sales to boost transaction counts and get rid of excess inventory plus compete with Amazon.