Urban Outfitters swaps out China for booming second-hand market

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Urban Outfitters has had a busy day: the announcement of record-breaking sales was followed by that of a new second-hand platform... and its withdrawal from China.


Record quarter

The Americans are already in their fiscal year 2022 and report that they hit record highs in the second quarter. Compared to the pre-Covid fiscal year 2020, second-quarter sales went up 20 % to 1.16 billion dollars - just under the billion euros mark. The physical stores sold less, but online more than doubled, FashionUnited reports. 


However, the door to one vast potential market is closing for Urban Outfitters: the company is withdrawing from the Chinese market. On 12 September, the store on Alibaba's platform Tmall will close; the group did not yet have any physical stores in China. Still, it is a blow for the company, bidding farewell to 1.14 million followers on Tmall, Business of Fashion reports. 



Next autumn, the American company will launch Nuuly Thrift, a platform for second-hand clothing where customers can buy and sell clothing and accessories from various brands. Nuuly Thrift will become the little brother of Nuuly Rent, a subscription service for renting womenswear. Rental clothing that is getting too old for that programme will also get sold through Nuuly Thrift, reports RetailDive. 


Sellers on the platform can choose to have the balance of their transactions transferred to a bank account or use it as Nuuly Cash in other worlds of the Urban Outfitters universe (such as Anthropologie, Free People and Terrain - or, of course, Nuuly Rent). If they convert their balance to Nuuly Cash, they will receive an additional ten per cent.


Booming business

With Urban Outfitters, yet another major fashion brand is moving into second-hand, an industry expected to boom. Analysts anticipate that by 2026, some 70 billion euros worth of second-hand clothing will be purchased worldwide, and many retailers are eager to get a piece of the pie. 


"With URBN's millions of existing customers, our merchandising and creative expertise, our deep technical capability, and the potential for Nuuly Cash to drive incremental purchases at our family of brands, we believe the stage is set to capitalize on a very large resale market opportunity", David Hayne, chairman of Nuuly, believes.