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UK’s Sign of the Times to Expand Luxury Resale Platform

London-based luxury resale platform Sign of the Times, has recently received new investment from industry leaders, including BrandAlley and Sweaty Betty founder Tamara Hill-Norton.

This investment round will enable Sign of the Times to expand its operations in the second-hand market. The partnership with BrandAlley will involve a white label “take back service,” aligning with BrandAlley’s commitment to sustainability and circularity.

According to a release emailed to PYMNTS, the second-hand market is experiencing remarkable growth, with projections indicating that second-hand and off-price sectors will make up 37% of wardrobes by 2031, compared to 26% in 2021, according to Thred Up’s resale report. This trend showcases the increasing popularity and acceptance of pre-owned fashion.

The funds raised from this investment round will be utilized for marketing initiatives, strategic hires and the acquisition of assets from Cudoni, a company that recently went into administration. This acquisition expanded Sign of the Times’ database by 35%, enhancing its offerings to customers. The amount of the funding round wasn’t released.

Sign of the Times, established in 1976, initially focused on reselling designer items owned by celebrities. Over the years, the platform has evolved to provide authentication and valuation services for luxury goods. 

Antonia Johnstone, the owner and CEO of Sign of the Times, expressed enthusiasm about the investment, emphasizing the company’s belief in the circular economy. She highlighted the platform’s growth of 300% over the past three years and expressed excitement about the strategic collaboration with BrandAlley to achieve growth goals.

BrandAlley CEO Rob Feldmann acknowledged the increasing demand for sustainable purchasing decisions among consumers. He stated that the decision to invest in Sign of the Times was driven by their track record, experienced team, and commitment to a circular approach.

The investment from BrandAlley and other industry leaders highlights the growing recognition and potential of the luxury resale market, which reached a value of $39.23 billion in 2023, according to a Research and Markets report. This growth can be attributed to changing consumer attitudes, an expanding middle-class population and the increasing number of internet users. The luxury resale market, which involves the buying and selling of pre-owned luxury goods, has shed its stigma and is gaining acceptance worldwide.

The industry is segmented based on product type, distribution channel and gender. Among these segments, apparel luxury resale holds the largest market share and is the fastest-growing segment, due to the growing acceptance of second-hand apparel among consumers. Among retailers joining the trend is H&M, which announced plans in September to sell its “pre-loved” collection of womenswear in London.