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Resell your jeans and handbags? Resale value goes beyond used cars

By Anne D'innocenzio

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 9 2014 2:12 p.m. MDT

"This is a broad narrative on how people are buying things and using things," said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of ThredUP, which launched as an online children's swapping business in 2009 and morphed into a resale site two years ago.

Julie Wainwright, CEO of TheRealReal, which focuses on the top tier designer labels in fashion, accessories and jewelry, said her office fields five or six calls a day from customers wanting to know about the resale value of a brand. "People will call us before they shop, or while they're shopping," Wainwright said.

And the sites have all kinds of tricks of the reselling trade. For instance, TheRealReal said it doesn't carry even some higher end brands including Escada, St. John and Max Mara because they've been inconsistent or have lost buzz, and thus, don't command high resale prices.

Conversely, the ones with the most value in pre-worn clothing and handbags are: Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton. In shoes, it's Christian Louboutin, Wainwright said.

Some analysts say the new focus on resale value could hurt sales at traditional retailers — particularly at luxury stores. "I think luxury retailers are going to run a little scared," said Marshal Cohen, a market research analyst.

But resale sites say they can help retailers because shoppers are more willing to spend if they know they can easily resale items later. Some even are creating partnerships with traditional stores.

TheRealReal, for example, teamed up with Neiman Marcus, allowing first- time consignors to get a $50 gift card to the store. The resale site is funding the cost. Neiman Marcus declined to comment.

And some shoppers say the sites make them more comfortable about spending money in traditional stores.

Amy Fine Collins, a special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, sold a Chanel handbag on Therealreal.com for about $1,000, a few hundred dollars more than she originally paid for it at the store. She had the handbag for about a year.

"I don't have to get a nose bleed at the prices the way I used to. I know there's a strong secondary market," she said.

Follow Anne D'Innocenzio at http://www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio

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