Exploring the location decisions of pop-up fashion retailers in Amsterdam
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In an era of ever-accelerating societal and economic changes, chances for temporary use of the existing building stock are ample. Particularly, significant changes occurring in Amsterdam’s fashion retail landscape have opened the door for a new phenomenon: pop-up fashion stores. This thesis explored the location decisions of starting pop-up fashion retailers, and specifically the manner in which those decisions can be explained according to neo- classical, behavioral and institutional theory. While the existing body of work regarding retail location theory is expansive and rich, it tends to focus on more traditional forms of retail and larger scales than the single-store retailer; research into the location decisions of pop-up retailers has, until now, been left wanting. Additionally, existing research has tended to shy away from holistic, multi-disciplinary approaches with regards to any number of combinations of neo-classical, behavioral and institutional theory. Taking the fully-rational entrepreneur as its theoretical starting point, the research first dealt with the extent to which pop-up fashion retailers make location decisions in accordance with neo-classical location theory. Next, it considered the extent to which, on the one hand, the endogenous cognitive limitations of human decision-makers and, on the other hand, exogenous limitations imposed by property market institutions inevitably lead to sub-optimal location decisions. The results indicate that the respondents’ decision-making processes can be placed firmly within behavioral theory. While generally acknowledging the value of engaging in detailed market research as the fully-rational, neo-classical entrepreneur would, pop-up fashion retailers portray limited knowledge of the property market as well as a rejection the notion of finding the ‘perfect’ location. This lack of knowledge and interest in objective-maximization, however, can partly be attributed to the constraining effects of the third piece of the puzzle: institutional control. Disappointingly, retail space suppliers still appear to be clinging to the high rents and long-term contracts of yesteryear, unable or unwilling to adapt to needs of the modern retail market. The data was collected via semi-structured in-depth interviews with three retail experts and thirteen pop-up fashion retailers between October and December, 2014.