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Resale shops have gotten picky

Stores are in the catbird seat, even rejecting clothes that haven't been worn.

By Karen Datko Dec 2, 2009 6:19PM

So many people are selling used or unworn and unwanted clothing that resale shops can be picky, rejecting even the priciest, most fashionable items if they’re not a good fit for the store, The Wall Street Journal reports. When resale shops do buy, the price may be shockingly low.


"Even the really, really great stuff that's in really great condition, they didn't even accept it," Ally Peet told the Journal after a Plato’s Closet in Utah turned thumbs down on her Dior and Juicy Couture apparel. "They said (the brands) wouldn't sell well here."

Resale shops are part of the triumvirate of used clothing depositories, which includes thrift stores and consignment shops. All are doing a booming business as people look for highly discounted apparel. Reportedly teens are among their best customers.


The WSJ offers some tips if you want to successfully sell your clothing items to a resale shop:

  • Find out first what brands sell well in that particular store. Some specialize in lower-end brands and others cater to a high-end but frugal crowd.
  • Items you want to sell should still be in style. We suspect that people who don’t care as much about such things -- that's us! -- are more likely shopping at Goodwill.
  • They should also be in season. Now is not the time to sell a bathing suit unless you live where it’s always warm and sunny.
  • Presentation counts. Make sure the clothes are clean, smell fresh, and are neatly folded or hung up.

The resale Web site Too Good to be Threw says you should pick a shop that’s clean, attractive and full of people looking for bargains. A good shop will also have a handout about how it operates.


We wouldn’t accept a ridiculously low price. The going rate seems to be at least 30% of the resale price -- more if you take it in store credit. If they’re offering only pennies on the original dollars spent, you may be better off selling on Craigslist or eBay.


Here’s another thought: Resale stores, as well as thrift stores and consignment shops -- where you get a percentage of the proceeds when your item sells -- can be good sources of holiday gifts. The National Retail Federation says 11.4% of holiday shoppers will look for gifts and other holiday items at these types of shops.

Susan Tompor of suggests you buy resale as a gift only if you know the recipient will be comfortable with that. Plus, know the person’s size or make sure items are easily returnable. Or perhaps the resale shop sells gift cards.


Related reading:

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