Retail Refugees

What is worth more: Goods or Cash?
September 24, 2008, 10:38 am
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

With the current economic downturn consumers´ priorities are beginning to shift even in the usually stable high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals. A recent article in Portfolio highlighted how people are starting to part with many of their prized luxury possessions in exchange for cold hard cash. The ultimate luxury in the market today is liquidity.

Several examples are given including some people selling rare wine, jewels, and in some cases even private jets.

What this means for retailers is that “Anyone peddling pre-owned Birkin bags, Chanel suits, and Manolo Blahnik pumps is also in luck. The proprietors of luxury clothing consignment stores are seeing increasing numbers of customers willing to sacrifice fashion for financial gain. “It’s a shift in the way they are viewing their assets,” says Stephanie Phair, head of merchandising at, a luxury-goods consignment website, of her sellers. They increasingly want to recoup some of the costs of old items before charging ahead with new ones, she adds. ´There’s a sense that maybe they don’t need two Birkins. They are seeing accessories as a tradable asset.´ ”

However, in the end, the retailers in the article point out that the rich and super rich remain essentially unaffected in the face of the economy. “At the very high end, we’re actually not seeing any difference. It’s common knowledge that at the very high end of the industry, these people are immune to the recession.”

This is just further evidence for retailers, especially those in the high-end segment, that priorities are shifting to those of quality, timeless style, and exclusivity. Superfluous and unnecessary “things” are simply being ignored.

At the same time, some brands are exploring opportunities in “re retail” or selling vintage products. Far from a thrift store, both American Apparel (below is their new brand, “California Vintage” in Berlin) and German based Winderkind have opened shops specializing in premium vintage clothes. Whether they are more popular for buyers are sellers remains a mystery, but it is nice to see them evolving with the market.


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[…] Retail Refugees Blog added an interesting post today on What is worth more: Goods or Cash?Here’s a small reading […]

Pingback by Fashion News » Blog Archive » What is worth more: Goods or Cash?

Interesting to know.

Comment by Dalva

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