British department stores chain Selfridges wants to invest heavily in circular retail: by 2030, second-hand purchases, repairs, rentals or refills should make up almost half of all transactions.
Selfridges has set clear sustainability targets: by 2030, 45 % of customers should come in for second-hand, repairs, clothing hire or refills, for example of cosmetics. The circular project “Reselfridges” should even become the “backbone of the company”, aiming to change the way people consume.
“Above all, we encourage people to think about how they can extend the life of a product. We are enabling customers to give their wardrobe a longer life than buying new,” managing director Andrew Keith told The Guardian. Keith says the new owners, Thai conglomerate Central Group, are fully on board with the project. “We need to commit to a significant and fundamental change in the way we do business and use Selfridges as a platform for change,” the CEO said.
From 5 % to 45 %
Admittedly, there is still a long way to go: to date, currently just 5 % of customer transactions are based on ‘circular’ models such as resale or repair. Nevertheless, last year second-hand sales increased by 240 % to 17,771 pieces, while 28,000 repairs were carried out. The chain recently opened a new repair service specifically for trainers, as more than a third of repairs were indeed carried out on sports shoes. The repair service is now being extended to the other three department stores.
Although the rental of clothing – especially for parties and events – got off to a slow start because of Covid, the chain still rented out some 2,000 items last year. The group now wants to expand the range to include children’s clothing and jewellery. Selfridges also wants to give refill packaging – of which it has already sold some 8,000 – a more prominent role. On its website, the chain is already publicising its sustainability plan at length.