Saks Off 5th will offload preowned premium and designer fashion from Rent the Runway for as much as 85% off, in a new deal that aims to attract younger “trend devotees” to the discount retailer.
More than 60 brands, including Gen Z favorites Ganni and Equipment, will be available to Saks Off 5th customers through a designated section of its website, the companies announced today. Saks Off 5th will buy authenticated stock from Rent the Runway, sell it, and fulfill the orders, helping the latter to clear old inventory. Rent the Runway has previously tested a similar partnership with rival discounter Nordstrom Rack.
The push into preowned fashion is largely driven by consumer demand, says Saks Off 5th president and CEO Paige Thomas, who joined the business from Nordstrom two years ago. A survey of Saks Off 5th customers revealed that more than 70% have previously purchased preowned clothing, shoes, or accessories; and a further 80% want the opportunity to purchase preowned fashion directly from the U.S. retailer. The resale market is growing twice as fast as the firsthand market and is expected to reach around $60 billion globally by 2025, according to management consultancy Boston Consulting Group.
“Our core customer is a ‘trend devotee,’ which is actually a younger customer who loves fashion and aspirational brands in the luxury space,” explains Thomas. In 2020, Saks Off 5th partnered with LXR, a Montreal company that retails and wholesales vintage luxury, to offer its customers preowned luxury handbags. “We see this as a journey,” says Thomas. “We started with LXR, and Rent the Runway came into play, which allows us to broaden our assortment of brands that our customers haven’t seen and/or invest in brands that they love already that we carry on our site.”
Nasdaq-listed Rent the Runway has struggled to reach profitability and has been moving away from a capital-heavy wholesale model of buying and holding stock towards new models including acquiring inventory from brands at no or low upfront cost and sharing a slice of the revenue. In June the company reported a net loss of $42.5 million for the first quarter of 2022, roughly flat on the $42.3 million loss it made in the first quarter of 2021. It first offered a purchase option to its rental subscribers in 2016, and in June 2021 opened resale to all users, including one-off renters. To help it clear old stock, in January 2020, Rent the Runway partnered with rival Nordstrom Rack on a pilot to offer preowned fashion in some of its stores.
On the Saks Off 5th partnership, Rent the Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman says, “The secondhand economy is a critical part of creating a more sustainable future for our industry. Saks Off 5th is known for offering incredible designer goods at great prices, which is a fantastic launch pad to educate more consumers, and help to extend the life of these garments.”
This post was originally published on Vogue Business.