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Gap Is the Latest Retailer to Tap Into Resale in Hopes of Reviving a Struggling Business

Gap has become the latest retailer to tap into resale in a bid to adapt to shifting consumer preferences.

The San Francisco-based firm yesterday announced a partnership with ThredUp that will allow Gap customers to send their used clothes to ThredUp in exchange for credit at its namesake chain as well as Banana Republic, Athleta and Janie and Jack. Starting in April, select stores will distribute ThredUp clean-out bags, which customers can use to mail their items.

“As the resale revolution continues to gain momentum, participating in re-commerce is not only good for our planet, but good for business,” said Mark Breitbard, president of Gap Inc.’s specialty brands. “Our customers are diversifying their closets, whether with new clothing, rental pieces or secondhand goods.”

ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart added, “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.”

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Gap joins two other department store chains that have forged partnerships with the online consignment giant: In mid-August, Macy’s announced during its second-quarter conference call that it had launched a pilot with the resale site at 40 of its stores across the country. A day later, JCPenney said that 30 of its locations would soon offer a selection of ThredUp’s secondhand women’s apparel and accessories to be curated weekly.

Even earlier in April, Neiman Marcus took a minority stake in online consignment market Fashionphile, which specializes in pre-owned designer handbags and accessories. It became the first major luxury retailer to directly invest in resale, with its stores serving as drop-off points for customers’ pre-owned pieces and shoppers then receiving payment that can be used to shop at the department store.

As an increasing number of millennial and Gen Z shoppers keep a closer eye on their carbon footprints, the rental and resale markets have enjoyed a steady climb. According to ThredUp’s 2019 Fashion Resale Market trend report, the resale market is worth $24 billion today and is expected to hit $51 billion by 2023 — growing 21 times faster than traditional retail over the past three years.

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