As one of the franchise industries to watch in 2012, let’s take a closer look at Resale Shops. Ever since the economy turned south, consumers have been turning in increasing numbers to resale and thrift shops in just about every durable good category. The resale industry is booming as consumer’s look for ways to stretch each and every dollar further. New stores continue to enter the industry while established businesses are opening additional locations. According to NARTS, the Association of Resale Professionals, the industry has experienced a 7% growth in the number of stores for each of the past two years. There are currently more than 30,000 resale, consignment and thrift shops in the United States.
As the recession continues and our economic future remains uncertain, consignment store shoppers are a cross section of all age groups and socio-economic classes. It’s become quite chic to shop resale, and it no longer carries the stigma it once did. Retro is the new black! According to NARTS, “…about 16-18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year. For consignment/resale shops, it’s about 12-15%. To keep these figures in perspective, consider that during the same time frame; 11.4% of Americans shop in factory outlet malls, 19.6% in apparel stores and 21.3% in major department stores.”
The flexibility over inventory control for the resale business owner is a huge advantage. Reactions to market trends are immediate with the ability to adjust pricing and modify policy on which items to accept and which to turn away. Unlike traditional retail shops that often purchase bulk quantities and rack up inventory for months in advance, resellers turn-around most of their goods within weeks. And there seems to be no shortage of goods to supply the growing demand by the value-conscience consumer, as some folks are letting go of bigger ticket items and designer clothing in an effort to close their debt gap or simply protect their nest egg.
The location of a resale shop can be critical to its success or failure. A recent industry trend for resale shop owners is to establish locations with greater foot traffic as well as those that are clustered near similar businesses. When like shops open up within close proximity of one another shopping becomes an event for consumers who will actually drive further distances to reach their shopping destination. Factory outlet shops and antique rows are good examples where shoppers can visit a variety of stores with a common theme that carry varying merchandise.
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