Here’s What Happens to Popular Mall Brands After They Close Their Stores

Grappling with marked shifts in consumer shopping patterns, footwear and apparel brands have been shuttering doors left and right. But, a thriving afterlife awaits many such brands, according to a new study by fashion resale site ThredUp.

The e-tailer, which calls itself the largest online thrift store, recently released new data evidencing an increasing demand for many mall brands above its site-wide baseline. Most interestingly, the uptick is largest among brands — such as Wet Seal, BCBG and Crocs — that recently announced store closures.

Specifically, ThredUp said seven out of 10 mall brands closing stores are outpacing average resale growth rates on its platform.

Crocs — which announced in March its plans to close 158 stores — is leading the pack. (On March 1, the lightweight-clog-maker said its Q4 revenues declined across multiple geographies. Meanwhile, its wholesale, retail and digital sales remained sluggish amid turnaround efforts.)

In April — just one month after the brand confirmed its store-closure plan — ThredUp said Crocs experienced a significant spike, reselling 58 percent faster than average brands on the site, with nine out of 10 Crocs reselling on ThredUP within 18 days.

“Crocs is the fastest reseller and is among the fastest-growing mall brands,” the researchers said.

ThredUp also found a correlation between Crocs’ recent partnership with Hollywood A-lister Drew Barrymore — who signed on as brand ambassador in December 2016 to promote the label’s spring ’17 line — and an apparent Crocs resurgence. (Crocs’ latest earnings report, for the Q1 period, also showed  improvements in profits as a well as better-than-expected year-over-year sales for the once-struggling brand.)

Dubbing it the “23 Point Barrymore Effect,” ThredUp said over the past three months, 30-day sell-through of Crocs on the site increased from 67 percent to 90 percent.

Meanwhile, bankrupt prom staple brand BCBG — which said in February it would close about 120 stores — and Wet Seal, which went completely belly up this year, are also among the highest-selling resale brands on ThredUp.

Demand for Wet Seal, for example, is growing at two times the rate of baseline brands on the site.

Generally, ThredUp said “millennial mall brands” and “expensive mall brands” fare best on the online resale market.

For example: 96 percent of Anthropologie’s merchandise sells within three months of being listed on ThredUp.com; 95 percent of Free People’s items move during a 90-day period; and 82 percent of Zara’s wares are bought within three months.

Interestingly, Ralph Lauren — which made headlines when it announced in April that it was closing its store on 5th Avenue in New York — has been an outlier when it comes to online resale interest among popular millennial brands, according to ThredUp. The brand’s resale growth is 72 percent baseline, the researchers said.

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