Retail Resurrected: The Latest Retail Industry Trends

For anyone who grew up in the 1980s, the local mall was the place to be.

Even if you weren’t into shopping, most malls were drop-off points for teenagers to hang with friends and sip on an Orange Julius. And while kids of that era didn’t have iPhones or social media to connect with peers, just spending a few quarters and showing some skill with the arcade game was a sure way to expand your friends list.

The stores in the middle of the mall – such as The Limited, The Gap and the always popular Spencer Gifts – drew young people in with the styles and stuff they wanted while the big chains on the end were more for moms and dads.

Some of those former anchor stores, though, are trying to turn the trend on its head by drawing younger, more cost-aware shoppers by carving out space for “resale clothing,” also commonly known as second-hand sales.

Recently, J.C. Penney’s and Macy’s announced a deal with fashion resale site thredUP to devote sections in their stores to second-hand clothing in hopes of increasing sales of new merchandise.

Resale sites such as thredUP offer a means for shoppers to thin out their closets and pick up new-to-them pieces. According to TheHustle.com, the resale market is expected to grow from $24 billion last year to $51 billion by 2023.


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Some of these chain stores, including J.C. Penny’s, are keeping the resale business in-house. With shoppers only able to sell their old clothes and buy new ones off the rack. Some areas, though, will have a new business opportunity opening up as second-hand stores will rent out space right inside the big chains.

“Subletting” this space within another store will require a series of permits based on local regulations. With experience across the US and Canada, Express Permits can easily navigate this process to get your business up and running.

“This would affect how and what people would be shopping for at major retail clothing chains, which, in turn, effects the required sales floor space of retail buildings, new tenant locations, tenants moving to smaller or larger buildings, etc,” said Steve Todd, CEO and president of Express Permits. “All of this would require some form of building permits, whether it be architectural, mechanicals, plumbing, HVAC, electrical – possibly even zoning or rezoning.”

This innovative approach to retail shopping encourages a creative re-using of the space, just like the reselling of clothes encourages recycling of clothing and other materials. Along with threadUP, stores such as Plato’s Closet, Poshmark and The RealReal are showing real profit in markets across the country.

Already at more than a dozen Neimen Marcus locations, shoppers can look for the latest trends right alongside slightly used and barely out of date clothes from Fashionphile at lower prices. While the big chains look to bring more foot traffic to their stores, the smaller franchises benefit from the co-opted space.

While the recent Black Friday showed once again that more and more shopping is being done online, there still remains a market for in-person shopping. According to an Associated Press report, around 80 percent of Gen Z – adults in their late teens and 20s – still like going to malls as much as their parents did before them in the ’80s.

“This kind of outside-the-box thinking has some real potential upside in terms of business investments,” Todd said. “Express Permits can simplify the road to opening and operating one of these venues.”

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