Abercrombie & Fitch is entering the secondhand apparel space by partnering with ThredUp, following in the steps of apparel retailers including Gap, Inc., J.C. Penney and Macy’s in hopping on the resale bandwagon.
With the partnership, shoppers will receive a gift certificate to shop with Abercrombie & Fitch and its other brands including Abercrombie Kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks when they clean out their closets and send their unwanted, good-condition clothes to ThredUp’s resale-as-a-service (RAAS) platform.
The deal makes plenty of sense for Abercrombie & Fitch upon assessing the resale market. According to ThredUp’s 2019 Resale Report, which combines GlobalData research and the results of ThredUp’s own 2,000-person survey, resale grew 21 times faster than the retail apparel market in a three-year span. In total, ThredUp anticipates the secondhand market generating $51 billion by 2023.
As apparel retailers are relying on markdowns to sell off excess product, this partnership may give shoppers an option to take some of the pressure off Abercrombie to move product, while at the same time give shoppers an opportunity to reduce waste by sending in unwanted merchandise.
“This partnership with ThredUp supports our long-term journey to embed sustainability throughout our organization,” said Fran Horowitz, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “Sustainability is integral to our success, and it’s increasingly important to our customers. This collaboration not only helps reduce textile waste, but it also offers our customers a convenient way to do good, something we know they are eager to do.”
Shoppers can request a ThredUp “clean out kit” or download a prepaid shipping label online to send any brand of like-new women’s or children’s clothing to the resale apparel company. Once ThredUp processes and receives the garments, customers will earn Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister gift cards.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, ThredUp Clean Out kits and labels were made available at select stores of its retail partners, giving consumers a convenient avenue for submitting their unwanted goods for consignment. With Abercrombie’s stores closed for the foreseeable future, there is no indication of whether ThredUp will introduce its RAAS platform in any of the teen retailer’s locations once they reopen.
In 2019, ThredUp upcycled its 100 millionth item, which the company said displaced an estimated 870,000 tons of CO2 equivalent—the equivalent of 74,000 road trips around the world.
Abercrombie & Fitch has taken steps to make sustainability a bigger part of its corporate citizenship initiatives, with the apparel retailer joining the United Nations Global Compact in 2019. The ThredUp collaboration aligns with Nos. 12 and 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which encourage responsible consumption and production and building partnerships that support the goals, respectively.