Today’s consumers love secondhand shopping. For example, while Borders has closed and Barnes & Noble struggles, Half Priced Books has seen consistent growth. Guitar Center is battling for continued relevance, but the online used-market Reverb performs strongly.
 
The reasons for shopping secondhand vary depending on the consumer. Some are eco-conscious and would prefer to reuse existing products. Other consumers are simply bargain-hunters, using the web as a 24/7 garage sale that offers delivery.
 
The secondhand craze presents a challenge for traditional retailers that have historically specialized in new goods. While some are fighting back by enhancing their instore experience, others have taken an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach. JCPenney is entering the latter category.
 
The retailer has announced that 30 JCPenney stores will soon be offering a selection of secondhand women’s clothing and handbags from thredUP, an online consignment store featuring like-new styles from popular designers and brands. As part of a company effort to launch new customer offerings, each thredUP shop at JCPenney will be thoughtfully curated and refreshed weekly to offer current fashion to shoppers.
 
“With the rise of online resale markets, there’s no doubt that demand for great value on quality brands is at an all-time high. There’s an emotional thrill that comes with finding one-of-a-kind secondhand product for much less,” says Michelle Wlazlo, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchant for JCPenney.
 
“While there are more secondhand shoppers than ever before, we’ll continue to test and evaluate how this resonates with customers. We’re excited about the prospect of creating a new in-store experience that makes high-end brands attainable, as well as catering to eco-minded consumers who want more sustainable options in their wardrobe.”
 
Offering a seasonal array of resale handbags and women’s fashion, the thredUP assortment will be uniquely branded in a 500-to-1,000-square-feet presentation in select markets starting this week. JCPenney shoppers will discover quality brand name and designer merchandise at compelling price points.
 
By shopping thredUP in a brick-and-mortar environment, style enthusiasts have the opportunity to see, feel, and try on the item at JCPenney, as well as utilize existing promotional offers to maximize their savings. Additionally, thredUP merchandise purchases are eligible to earn JCPenney Rewards.
 
Overall, this is a strong strategy for J.C. Penney, as it sees the retailer giving shoppers a compelling reason to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Thrift stores remain popular with many consumers, and this gives J.C. Penney an opportunity to offer a more upscale version of that secondhand experience.

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