Selfridges is the latest department store to get into the rental business.
The United Kingdom-based high-end chain has teamed up with Hurr Collective to offer for rent a range of more than 100 wares from about 40 brands in an effort to cater to younger and eco-conscious customers. The pieces, which span from clothing to bags and other accessories, can be rented for four, eight, 10 or 20 days at a time both online and at its outpost on Oxford Street in London.
What’s more, Selfridges plans to sell vintage items over a six-week period starting at the end of September. Shoppers will also be able to sell used designer apparel and accessories in exchange for store credit from mid-October.
The company has already dipped its toes into the resale market: Last year, it entered into a partnership with online reseller Vestiaire Collective to offer 200 items for sale during the initial rollout. Prior to launching a permanent boutique at Selfridges’ London flagship, Vestiaire Collective opened a two-week pop-up at the store in October 2018.
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As more customers make the case for high-end goods at more wallet-friendly prices, a number of storied fashion retailers have seen opportunities in the secondhand market, whether through resale or rental services.
Last April, Neiman Marcus took a minority stake in online consignment market Fashionphile, becoming what is widely reported as the first major luxury player to directly invest in resale. In mid-August of last year, Macy’s and JCPenney forged partnerships with ThredUp to host the reseller’s products at its stores. And in November, fashion rental startup Le Tote closed its acquisition of storied retailer Lord & Taylor, while Nordstrom expanded its partnership with Rent the Runway to offer drop-off locations at even more stores.
However, the new rental initiative comes at a challenging time for Selfridges, which reported its “toughest year” in recent history due to the coronavirus pandemic. In late July, it made the decision to cut 14% of its workforce, or about 450 jobs, with sales expected to be “significantly” less than they were in 2019. In addition, the department store is “carefully examining” other opportunities to cut costs, including reviewing all nonessential expenses and pausing projects and initiatives “when prudent to do so.”