Dubbed Nuuly Thrift, the resale marketplace will be a “sister platform” to Urban Outfitters’ subscription rental programme, Nuuly Rent, which launched in 2019. Nuuly Thrift will allow customers to sell and buy items from any brand, not just its in-house products, the company announced on Tuesday. Nuuly rental’s “end-of-life” garments will also be sold on the resale platform. The Nuuly Thrift app will be available to download this fall.
“[Urban] has been in the vintage renewal business since our founding in 1970,” Richard Hayne, chief executive and chairman, said in a statement. “With the launch of Nuuly Thrift,” he added, the company will “capitalise on shifting customer behaviour and gain market share in the rapidly expanding online resale market.”
The US resale market was worth about $27 billion in 2020, according to a recent BoF Insights report, and could reach as high as $67 billion by 2025. A May global survey of about 6,000 respondents found that 58 percent of consumers have purchased secondhand apparel.
As resale gains mainstream popularity, retailers from luxury to mass are eager to enter the space. Just in the past month, H&M announced its own resale initiative in Canada and Madewell said that it would extend its preowned denim partnership with ThredUp. Kering invested in luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective in March. Meanwhile, mass resale’s biggest contenders, Poshmark and ThredUp, both went public this year and have posted generous growth in their quarterly earnings.
Whether a retailer like Urban Outfitters, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, can compete with the resale market’s giants remains to be seen. But for now, experts say there is plenty of white space in the industry.
H&M is the latest to enter the space, with a marketplace set to launch on Sept. 7 in Canada. The fast fashion behemoth sees an opportunity to bring in new customers and burnish its sustainability credentials. But it has plenty of competition.