Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City's Used-Clothing Stores See Increase in Business

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City's Used-Clothing Stores See Increase in Business

Article excerpt

Beth Rutledge knows the cost of keeping two kids stylishly dressed.

Rutledge, director of marketing for the law firm Phillips Murrah P.C. in Oklahoma City, has a 4-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old daughter.

A recent shopping trip for the two girls at a boutique ended up costing about $900 for just a handful of outfits.

In a year, Rutledge said it is common to spend $4,000 to $5,000 on clothing for the girls, who favor brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Juicy Couture.

And when it comes to the girls' clothes, Rutledge buys everything new, not from consignment or secondhand stores.

"I'm not opposed to shopping consignment," she said. "But I've never found anything I really liked."

But with a downturn in the economy, families are more reluctant to open their wallets at pricey retailers, and have begun to dip into buying gently used, name-brand clothing.

And retailers of used upscale clothing are benefiting.

One company, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Children's Orchard, is expanding, including adding to its three stores in Oklahoma.

Children's Orchard has 100 stores in 25 states and plans to open about 200 more in the next few years.

As retailers report slowdowns and lowered expectations going into the holiday season, Taylor Bond, CEO of Children's Orchard, said the company has posted strong numbers all year.

"We're prepared to provide a lot of great values and we're hoping that will translate into some very good sales in the fourth quarter," he said. "So far what we've seen the fourth quarter has started off very well for us."

The stores, which offer clothing for children from infants to about age 10, buy name-brand clothes and sell items at 40 to 80 percent less than the original prices.

"What we do for a living and how we do it is especially well- suited to meet a lot of the important needs that families have nowadays," Bond said.

When the company started, people were more inclined to turn up their noses at secondhand goods, but not anymore, Bond said. …

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