By Mary Mullaj
With the hurting economy, it’s not just working class folks who are buying secondhand; high-end resale and consignment shops have sales dramatically this year. An example of this is Buffalo Exchange, a luxury resale chain with 33 stores and 3 franchises across the US, that forecasts revenue of about $55 million in 2008, up from $49.4 million last year.
Several factors contribute to the success of the second hand shop, not least of which is the economy. One major factor is the shift in embarrassment associated with shopping secondhand, shame which has all but dissipated in the current economic climate. Nothing is wrong with rocking some vintage Chanel! In fact consumers who would normally like to dress in the latest styles will not only settle for last year’s Prada but on top of that will now brag about how much money they saved on it. With the couture label’s classic designs too, it can be difficult to tell one season from the next, for all but the most attentive fashionistas.
And women with overflowing closets can put some cash back into their wallets by joining the cosigning game. As women sell items they would otherwise hang onto–such as a couture gown worn only once to a VIP gala–the steady influx of new material entices customers to shop more and more often at consignment stores. The vicious circle enables some to maintain a certain lifestyle and others to snag items they might not necessarily be able to afford new, in a chic twist on wealth redistribution.