Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CONSIGNMENTS ARE ECONOMIC INDICATORS? Resale Stores Appear to Be Thriving in an Economy That's Struggling

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CONSIGNMENTS ARE ECONOMIC INDICATORS? Resale Stores Appear to Be Thriving in an Economy That's Struggling

Article excerpt

Byline: CRISTIN WILSON

At Fifi's Fine Resale Apparel in East Arlington, workers have noticed a sharp increase in the amount of clothing they're receiving. Donna Suber, district manager for the consignment shop chain, which has other locations in Mandarin, San Marco and Ponte Vedra Beach, points to two possible reasons.

The first, which usually happens around this time of year, has to do with the fact that more people are cleaning out their closets to make way for a new spring wardrobe. But even with spring, 20 to 30 percent more inventory isn't normal for the boutique, she said.

"A lot of people are bringing in their stuff; it seems like we got bombarded," said Suber.

Lately, she has found herself having to go in and assist behind the counter because there's been such a jump in people bringing in items they hope the store can sell.

Unlike thrift stores, where people bring in clothes to be donated, consignment stores enter into a contract with those wanting to sell their items. Each store has its own policy, but some stores will offer sellers up to 50 percent of the sales price.

Stores are mindful that the items are secondhand, so workers try to price items accordingly, but at the same time many stores are strict about accepting only the best merchandise possible.

Suber said it's not uncommon to hear people as they ruffle through their bags remark that this is a good way to clean out their closets and make some money.

University of North Florida economist Paul Mason isn't surprised that consignment stores are seeing an increase in business. Such stores are countercyclical, meaning when the economy takes a downturn it's not uncommon for consignment and secondhand stores to thrive. Meanwhile, retail stores have seen their profits drop from a decrease in sales.

"With higher gas prices, food prices ... …

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