U.S.-based Urban Outfitters is to launch a second-hand marketplace, bringing the fashion retailer into competition with such names as Poshmark and ThredUp.
The Nuuly Thrift app, which will be available from the fall, will allow users to buy and sell clothing and accessories, both Urban Outfitters’ own merchandise and that of other brands.
URBN — which owns Urban Outfitters among a raft of other global consumer brands — will also sell off end-of-life garments from its subscription rental service for women’s clothing, Nuuly Rent, on the app. Company officials hope the peer-to-peer marketplace and the rental service will generate business for each other.
“With the launch of Nuuly Thrift, we’re excited for URBN to capitalize on shifting customer behavior and gain market share in the rapidly expanding online resale market,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO and chairman of Urban Outfitters, Inc.
The Philadelphia-based company hopes to tap into a millions-strong customer base, and profit from its shoppers’ openness to apparel resale: three quarters have made second-hand purchases while nearly half have sold second-hand items in the past year, it said.
“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,” says David Hayne, chief technology officer at URBN, and Nuuly president.
“Our goal at Nuuly is to build a creative marketplace community — built around a best-in-class technology platform — where customers can be fashion-conscious, eco-conscious and financially-conscious, all in one place.”
However, the move is not without risk for Urban Outfitters. The Wall Street Journal commented that the company, along with the “growing list” of other retailers that have launched peer-to-peer platforms, “stand to collect commissions on resales while they risk cannibalizing sales of new merchandise”.
“Our job is to grow,” David Hayne told the WSJ. “From a thrift standpoint, we know that if we don’t provide the platform it’s not going to keep sellers from selling on other platforms. These second-hand experiences are happening whether we’re playing in them or not.”
Research by ThredUp, citing findings from GlobalData, put the U.S. second-hand market on course to reach $77 billion within five years, with a growth pace expected to outstrip the retail clothing sector 11-fold.
Nuuly Thrift is entering a space currently populated by such competitors as Poshmark, ThredUp, The RealReal, Grailed and Depop.