Uniqlo, the Japanese apparel chain, has opened a pop-up store at the Union Square subway station in lower Manhattan.
New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in a statement said the opening is part of an initiative "to get hip, small stores to lease space in the short-term" while the agency is arranging long-term leases.
According to the MTA, the underground pop-ups will allow small entrepreneurs, online businesses and established corporations to rent space in generally "as-is" condition to provide "high visibility" exposure for brands as a marketing tool while also supporting on-site transactions. In some cases, customers will be encouraged to make their purchases online or at larger stores off site.
"Pop-up stores will provide a fresh and beneficial element to our stations while also improving the image and desirability of retail space in the subway," said MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast.
"The younger generations are gravitating to the subway system as never before," added MTA real estate director Jeffrey Rosen. "They are savvy about shopping online. Retailers want to reach them where they are, which is our subway system."
The MTA piloted the concept in July by hosting The Newsstand, an indy-oriented media seller, at a station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Uniqlo's shop will be open through the holidays with a focus on selling outerwear in a wide variety of colors.
"We get to show our brand to new customers and MTA gets to show off how this can be a viable location for other retailers," Dario Nieva, Uniqlo store manager, told the local ABC News affiliate.
Over the last year, Peapod, the online grocer, opened virtual grocery stores at a few subway stations in Chicago that enabled shoppers to scan and buy groceries using its smartphone app. It has also opened several other virtual stores in commuter rail stations in the northeast.
How popular will subways become for stores looking to open pop-up locations?