Big box stores turn to resale to bring back foot traffic

Big box stores aren’t getting the foot traffic they used to, forcing some to downsize, closing up shop. But others are turning to another business model.

The secret may be in second-hand.

It’s all about quality—at a steal. Stores like Macy’s are jumping on the resale bandwagon, realizing what people are looking for is the name brand without the accompanying price tag.

Like many, Jennifer Johnson grew up wearing hand-me-downs.

“I grew up in a household of a lot of children and we did not have money to go out and buy clothes,” she said.

So Johnson and her grandma would hit up garage sales, digging for trousers and treasures.

“It’s something that I always enjoyed,” said Johnson. “The thrill of the hunt.”

It’s because of that hunt that she opened up her high-end consignment shop in Naples almost a decade ago.

“When people find things that are new with tags, and you look at the tag and it was over $1,000 and you’re getting it for $45, they’re elated,” said Johnson.

And business is booming.

“The regular retail stores are declining every year and they’re closing stores. Here’s the resale industry, which is a powerhouse; they want a piece of the action because they’re realizing…wow, that’s really a segment we’ve been ignoring,” she said.

Research shows nearly nine in 10 retail executives want to get into resale by next year.

Macy’s and JCPenney partnered with the consignment service thredUP. That means at select locations, a small portion of the store will sell used clothes.

While JCPenney doesn’t have any thredUP spots in Florida, Macy’s has three on Florida’s east coast.

Offering customers like Melanie Dorcy brands she and her daughter want at a lower price is what brings in the foot traffic; something the big box stores are now trying to copy.

“When we’re tired of something, we bring it in and trade it for something new,” said Dorcy.

But the competition isn’t worrying Johnson. “It doesn’t concern me because it just brings more eyeballs to the retail or resale industry.”

Something else clothing stores are trying out: clothing rentals or subscriptions. Nike, Express, Ann Taylor and Urban Outfitters have all launched one of those two things, so it looks like we’re seeing a bit of reinventing the wheel.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Briana Harvath
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