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Urban Outfitters Launches a Resale Marketplace as the Secondhand Industry Soars

Updated Oct. 12: Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) is getting into resale.

The retailer on Tuesday launched a resale marketplace for shoppers to buy and sell men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing. The service is powered by Nuuly Thrift, a peer-to-peer marketplace platform.

URBN, whose brands include Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain and Urban Outfitters, initially launched Nuuly as a subscription service for renting women’s apparel in May 2019. Via Nuuly Thrift, consumers can buy and sell clothing from any brand, URBN or not. Proceeds from each sale can either be transferred directly to a bank account or redeemed for “Nuuly Cash,” which is worth 10% more when spent on Nuuly Thrift or on any URBN brand.

“URBN has been in the vintage renewal business since our founding in 1970,” said Urban Outfitters Inc. CEO and chairman Richard Hayne. “With the launch of Nuuly Thrift, we’re excited for URBN to capitalize on shifting customer behavior and gain market share in the rapidly expanding online resale market.”

Nuuly will donate 1% of Nuuly Thrift revenue to carbon removal programs via a partnership with Stripe Climate.

The launch of Nuuly Thrift marks URBN’s foray into the fast-growing secondhand market, which is set to more than double in size to $77 billion over the next five years, according to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report released in June. As the market booms, retailers such as PacSun, Burberry and Walmart have introduced their own resale programs. ThredUp, a leading thrifting site, has facilitated resale arms for multiple retailers via its “resale as a service” platform. In July, ThredUp said that it plans to acquire Remix, a major European fashion resale site, in an effort to expand globally.

David Hayne, URBN’s chief technology officer and Nuuly president, sees immense opportunity in the business category.

“With URBN’s millions of existing customers, our merchandising and creative expertise, our deep technical capability, and the potential for Nuuly Cash to drive incremental purchases at our family of brands, we believe the stage is set to capitalize on a very large resale market opportunity,” he said in a statement. “Our goal at Nuuly is to build a creative marketplace community — built around a best-in-class technology platform — where customers can be fashion-conscious, eco-conscious and financially-conscious, all in one place.”

This story has been updated.
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