Out with the old and in with the...old. As the fashion industry continues to push its (mostly empty) “sustainability is sexy” agenda, Gap ($GPS) is following retailers like Nordstrom ($JWN) and JC Penny ($JCP) into the secondhand clothing market. Today, the company announced its new partnership with the online consignment and thrift store ThredUp ($PRIVATE:THREDUP). Shoppers can stop by select Gap locations and exchange their used clothes for credits to use at Gap or any of its subsidiaries.
This isn’t a last-ditch effort at relevance, although the partnership could come in handy as a safety net. Gap stock shot up last month when the company decided against spinning out the Old Navy brand. But job postings have dropped off dramatically, along with store locations for Gap brands like Banana Republic.
Gap’s Facebook ($FB) Likes have slowed over the past several months, while ThredUp’s Likes continue to grow.
That said, people are still mentioning Gap on Facebook. They’re still following the brand on Instagram and Twitter. But it’s reaching a plateau, and ThredUp could spark some conversation. Since Nordstrom and JC Penney partnered with ThredUp last year, both companies’ Facebook mentions have gone up.
Online consignment companies like Poshmark ($PRIVATE:POSHMARK) and TheRealReal ($NASDAQ:REAL) have seen similar success in recent years. According to CNBC, 56 million women bought secondhand items in 2018, up 27% from a year earlier, and 51% of resale shoppers say they plan to spend more on secondhand goods over the next five years.
So the goal is to drive sales and get customers in the store. And while shopping from your couch is part of ThredUp’s main appeal, the inability to try on your purchases is one of its downfalls. This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.
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