Despite the fact that traditional mall brands are facing shuttering stores and slumping sales, their products are performing particularly well on resale sites like ThredUp.
In the past three months, mall brands have experienced “a thriving afterlife,” according to a study published by ThredUp. The data found that mall brands that have experienced closures, particularly Wet Seal and BCBG, are outpacing the average resale growth rates on the ThredUp site. Additionally, mall brands that are doing comparatively well are experiencing notably high resale rates. Anthropologie, Free People and H&M all experienced over 90 percent resale rates within three months of being posted on the site, while Madewell, Urban Outfitters, Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch all came in at over 80 percent.
Karen Clark, head of marketing and communications at ThredUp, said that on average, more expensive mall brands with younger shopper demographics tend to perform best on the site, as a result of tech-savvy consumers seeking bargains on their favorite brands. “Part of the findings might have to do with how on trend the inventory is. These are sort of newer brands, the trends are a bit more current. In general, the higher price point items sell faster due to their resale value,” she said.
Chart courtesy of ThredUp.
Another surprising find was a strong resurgence in Croc sales, which sold 58 percent faster than ThredUp’s daily average in April. In total, nine out of 10 Crocs sold within a month of being listed on ThredUp. Clark speculated that the spike was the result of a new campaign featuring actors Drew Barrymore and John Cena, though Crocs have had a bit of a rebirth in recent months within the fashion industry. (During fashion week last fall, bedazzled Crocs appeared on the runway during Christoper Kane’s London Fashion Week show, sparking discussion about the rise of the “ugly shoe,” following similar revivals of Birkenstock and Teva sandals.)
Clark said another possible reason for the high performance of mall brands is that consumers are increasingly eschewing brick-and-mortar shopping in favor of the ease of shopping online. This is magnified for certain consumers that have found an affinity in pairing the e-commerce experience with identifying resale bargains.
“Consumers are looking for, and come to expect, consistently low prices that retailers can’t keep up with,” she said. “Places like T.J. Maxx, where you can find consistently low prices instead of having to wait around for deals, are becoming more and more appealing.”
ThredUp conducts brand analyses monthly, in addition to seasonal and quarterly deep dive reports, to get a sense of trends and what type of programs to keep in inventory — much like peers including StitchFix that employee extensive algorithms and cull through vast amounts of data to better understand clientele.
“Part of it is just a sanity check,” Clark said. “Our pricing algorithms are machine learning–based. They are updating and correcting automatically, based on purchase behavior. If we get an item that is a particular brand, size and color, it looks historically at everything that has similar attributes and prices accordingly using dynamic pricing.”