Resale shops not only survive a slow economy, they grow and thrive, making them one of the few sectors of the retail industry to flourish in a recession.
Resale shops out-compete traditional retailers on two fronts, says the Association of Resale Professionals. Customers are attracted to resale shops because of the value they find there – quality merchandise at a fraction of the original cost. Other consumers respond to the financial incentives of selling, consigning or donating unwanted items.
A new demographic of both suppliers and customers arises during difficult economic times, the association said. Net sales increased 12.7 percent at resale shops in 2009, compared to a 7.3 percent decrease for traditional retailers, the association reports in it 2010 Operating Survey. Resale shop owners also reported increased inventory coming into their store and more customers coming into their stores.
“Consumers can maintain the high standard of living they have become accustomed to on a fraction of what they used to spend, and they can also sell items they aren’t using and get cash or store credit to use on items they want and need,” said Tracy True Dismukes, who owns Collage Designer Consignment in Birmingham, AL. She noted that a renewed emphasis on recycling and going green is also helping business.
Increased consumer commitment to resale has resulted in new shops being opened throughout the country at a rate of about 7 percent a year, a higher than normal growth rate that the association expects to continue this year. Growth comes from established “resalers” who are expanding, charities looking for new sources of revenue and unemployed individuals looking for new ways to make a living. The fastest growing segments of the resale industry specialize in teen clothing and furniture.
“Many factors contribute to the popularity of resale during both strong and unsettled economic climates,” said Adele Meyer, executive director of the association. “Increased awareness of recycling, the quest for higher quality for less money, the lure of finding something distinctive, the ‘thrill of the hunt’ and the excitement of a good buy are just a few things that allure the savvy shopper. One of the foremost reasons that resale thrives in a slow economy is simple – people love a bargain!”
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