Retail Pulse: Gap Teams With thredUP; Pier 1 Looks To Sell As It Closes Stores

Gap store

Brick-and-mortar retailers are teaming with fashion resale platforms as they support the circular fashion economy. Gap Inc., in one case, is partnering with thredUP to allow shoppers to exchange their secondhand clothes for a shopping credit to be spent at Gap, Athleta, Janie and Jack, or Banana Republic. 

Shoppers will be able to get thredUP Clean Out bags or labels at certain U.S. Gap, Athleta, Janie and Jack, or Banana Republic locations, which will offer a means for them to send in their unwanted items for consignment. The move comes as 56 million women bought secondhand products in 2018, which is nearly half of the entire female U.S. adult population.

“As the resale revolution continues to gain momentum, participating in re-commerce is not only good for our planet, but good for business,” Gap Inc. Specialty Brands President Mark Breitbard said in an announcement. “Our customers are diversifying their closets, whether with new clothing, rental pieces, or secondhand goods. We’re thrilled to partner with thredUP in offering a sustainable and innovative way to shop for the closet of the future.”

The announcement says Gap Inc. is “the largest clean out participant to date” in thredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service (RAAS) program, which is an online platform that works with merchants to support the circular fashion economy. And thredUP, for its part, upcycled its 100 millionth item last year, displacing an estimated 870K tons of CO2e.

“thredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service platform was built with consumers and retailers in mind,” said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of thredUP. “After spending the past decade building the backbone of resale on the internet, we are thrilled to partner with the iconic brands in the Gap Inc. portfolio to deliver a convenient, responsible clean out service to their customers. By working together we can pave the way for a more circular fashion future.”

In October, news surfaced that Madewell was teaming with thredUP for an offering known as “The Madewell Archive.” It was described as a collection of its own branded jeans that it sourced from the reCommerce platform and follows the company’s other recycling efforts. Each pair of jeans was reportedly chosen by hand, washed, refurbished and put into some of the stores of the merchant for sale at $50 per pair.

From Madewell to Gap Inc., retailers are working with secondhand fashion platforms to provide consumers with the chance to buy or recycle clothing as the circular economy takes off. 

In Other Brick-and-Mortar News

Pier 1 Imports is looking to sell the company as it applies for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closes as many as 450 stores. The home décor retailer franchise said it filed for chapter 11 protection U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Virginia on Monday (Feb. 17). Pier 1 said a court-supervised bankruptcy sale of the company will take place unless talks with potential buyers work out.

Pier 1 CEO Robert Riesbeck said per reports, “Today’s actions are intended to provide Pier 1 with additional time and financial flexibility as we now work to unlock additional value for our stakeholders through a sale of the company.” Riesbeck continued, “We are moving ahead in this process with the support of our lenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage in discussions with potential buyers.”

And IKEA is letting customers, in essence, pay with their time with a move that could reshape how shoppers buy merchandise. IKEA Dubai is launching a campaign that will allow customers to use their time as currency by showing their Google Maps timeline to checkout workers to show how long it took them to travel to IKEA stores.

The “Buy With Your Time” campaign was made to assist shoppers who live on the edges of towns and who typically take a long time to travel to IKEA stores. The “time currency” prices are said to be based on the average salary in Dubai and the campaign, for its part, is said to be timed with the opening of a new Jebel Ali location.

In other news, Domino’s Pizza Inc. saw its quarterly profit and same-store U.S. sales come out ahead of analysts’ forecasts as it contended with delivery aggregators. The company did not see a ramp-up with digital aggregators as it has seen in quarters past, but CEO Ritch Allison noted in an earnings call with analysts on Thursday (Feb. 20) that the pressure is still there.

The company also reached a landmark 25 million active loyalty members in 2019 when it comes to digital efforts. It now has 40+ million enrolled in its loyalty program and more than 85 million customers in its database. Domino’s also brought a new supply chain center to Winnipeg in January, and the firm’s Columbia, South Carolina center will open in the first half of 2020.

To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.