Thrift Stores and the Middle Class

This according to the CNN article “Thrift stores: We’re seeing more middle-class shoppers“:

COLUMBIA, Missouri (AP) — Forget about the outdated notion of thrift shops as the refuge of the working poor, the down and out or the vintage fashion hipster. In these troubled times, the powerful lure of a secondhand retail bargain is attracting a whole new breed of customer.

Thrift stores report seeing more middle-class and upper-class customers, who they haven’t seen before.

The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International, the nation’s two largest charitable resale organizations, report year-to-date sales increases of 6 percent to 15 percent.

The gains are even more pronounced in the private sector. In an industry trade group survey of more than 200 resale and thrift shops, nearly two-thirds of those businesses reported higher sales in 2008 compared to the previous year. The average sales increase: 35 percent.

Consumers “can’t change the price of gas. They can’t change the price of food. They can’t make the stock market go up again,” said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. “But they can control the price of clothes and furniture by being a savvy shopper.”

In other words, they have become Penny Pinchers.

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2 Responses to Thrift Stores and the Middle Class

  1. Joanne says:

    Lets just hope they don’t put the prices up too much with their new-found popularity.
    I’ve noticed the op-shops (as we call them in my part of the world) are certainly busier.

  2. thepennypincher says:

    It will also be interesting to see how the American crisis will impact the clothes sent to other countries. In my local Value Village, there are often brand names from stores we do not have in Canada other than perhaps a few stores in some of the larger cities. I am convinced that much of the clothes come from the United States. Will their financial crisis reduce the volume of used clothes being exported?

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