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Spirit Halloween’s Scary Success
It’s like a storefront jump scare.
One minute that old department store is abandoned. Then you turn around, and suddenly it’s a fully stocked and staffed Spirit Halloween store.
Every year, Spirit Halloween stores rise from the dead, with more than 1,500 locations across the U.S. and Canda.
This year, the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
As Halloween has grown from a night of mischief to a season of celebration, Spirit stores have grown as well.
But the company’s secret to success has as much to do with retail shopping patterns as it does Halloween costume trends.
Reviving Retail Spaces
From Christmas Tree Shops to fireworks stands, lots of businesses thrive on seasonal sales. But few are as pervasive as Spirit Halloween.
Spirit does everything it can to extend the Halloween season. Its press release announcing store openings went out at the end of August.
But rather than try to convince consumers to buy Halloween costumes in April, it spends most of the year tracking down good deals on short-term leases for storefronts that are typically abandoned.
“Pretty much November 1, the minute our door is closed, we are — or actually, before our doors close — we are prepping for the next season,” Spirit Halloween Senior Director of Real Estate Frank Pacera said.
As more and more retail offerings move online, Spirit has more and more abandoned locations to choose from. One year, Spirit occupied the former American Express headquarters in Manhattan. This year, an old diner will house a location.
Once its stores are open, Spirit maximizes its reach with partnerships, advertising and content to get people to think Spirit when they think spooky. It also works to create an in-store experience worthy of a visit. Those experiences are tailored, depending on the size of the store and the former occupant, Pacera said.