LEEDS United are opening a new front in their push to re-engage with fans after the controversies of the club’s Ken Bates era.
United have announced they will be operating a pop-up store at the Trinity Leeds shopping centre throughout August.
Selling replica kits and other merchandise, the outlet will be the club’s first significant retail presence in the middle of Leeds since their Albion Street souvenir shop closed in 2007.
Thursday’s store opening is the latest in a series of initiatives that have been seen as attempts by United’s recently-installed owners, Dubai-based investment bank GFH Capital, to bring disillusioned fans onside.
United retail director Dan Jeffery said: “We are delighted to get back into the city centre with a pop-up shop in the exciting new Trinity Leeds. The timing could not be any better as we open two days before the start of the season.
“The pop-up shop will be stocking [our] new home and away kits ... and shirts from the club’s popular retro collections alongside exclusive new designs that will only be available at the Trinity Leeds store.”
United are running the store in partnership with the Made in Leeds brand.
Trinity Leeds marketing manager Paul Smith said: “It’s great to see Leeds United returning to the city. Pop-up culture is all the rage at the moment and it’s exciting that we can play a part in bringing the ‘LUFC’ brand to fans in a truly unique way.”
Some United supporters were unhappy with the way the club was run under Ken Bates, who sold up to GFH at the end of 2012 before being removed as president last week. GFH’s apparent efforts to draw a line under the Bates era include an ad campaign using the slogan ‘The past is the past... let’s be United’.
They have also reduced ticket prices and, in a widely-praised move, signed a deal for the return of full United match commentaries to BBC Radio Leeds after a lengthy absence.
• The pop-up retail concept – which typically involves the use of an empty store space on a temporary basis – has grown increasingly popular in the UK in recent times.
A pop-up outlet dedicated to boy band One Direction drew huge crowds when it opened at Trinity Leeds in March.