‘Thrifting’ Extends to Holiday Shopping Too - Kanebridge News
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‘Thrifting’ Extends to Holiday Shopping Too

Roughly 17% of gifts this holiday season will be a resold item, according to Salesforce data

By JOSHUA KIRBY
Fri, Dec 22, 2023 7:00amGrey Clock 4 min

A new kind of present is gaining acceptance this holiday season. More consumers are picking secondhand items to gift each other, finding it to be an environmentally and budget-friendly option.

Thrift stores that sell used clothes and goods are springing up online and on street corners. Goodwill Industries International, the nonprofit behind the familiar chain of thrift stores, is ramping up its online efforts. Fashion brands are developing their own resale offering to keep up with clothing-reseller sites such as Depop and Poshmark. Roughly 17% of gifts this holiday season will be a resold item, according to software firm Salesforce.

“Consumers are choosing resale first because of the incredible value, the unique merchandise, and the incredible sustainability benefit,” said Matt Kaness, chief executive of GoodwillFinds, the nonprofit’s online e-commerce platform run in partnership with Salesforce.

Secondhand clothes, once seen as frumpy and embarrassing, are now keenly sought out by the fashion conscious. A popular vintage aesthetic dovetails with consumer calls for goods that do less harm to the world. About 85% of American shoppers have bought or sold preowned items over the past year, nearly a third for the first time, according to online marketplace OfferUp’s Recommerce report. In apparel alone, some 10% of the global market will be secondhand by next year.

GoodwillFinds is the only major nonprofit player in resale.

GoodwillFinds’ online platform allows a smarter operation than the traditional bricks-and-mortar store, said Kaness, formerly an executive with retailers including Walmart and Urban Outfitters. The platform uses artificial intelligence and large data sets to more accurately price and categorise items, creating a much more efficient system, Kaness said.

“In a store, it’s a human looking at the item. They have paper sticker tickets for the price and they have to process such a volume that it is somewhat random,” he said. In contrast, the company’s online system uses computer vision to take a picture, identify the item, create a listing and price it.

Moving online is the logical choice for secondhand sellers, said 25-year-old Brooke Bowlin, who runs lifestyle blog Nuance Required. “Secondhand stores just can’t sell enough,” said Bowlin, who started her own thrift store in Siloam Springs, Ark. “By moving online and expanding the audience, there is an opportunity to re-home more clothes,” she said.

Major fashion brands are also increasingly recognising that secondhand is as much a necessity as it is an opportunity. The fashion industry is responsible for up to 8% of global emissions, relying on resource-intensive raw materials and fast-moving trends that have contributed large amounts of waste. Around 11.3 million tons of textile waste go to landfills in the U.S. every year, according to environmental organisation Earth.Org.

Outdoor-clothing retailer Patagonia established its Worn Wear platform in 2017, one of the first resale channels by a major brand.

As much as adapting to trends, Patagonia Worn Wear aims to change consumer behavior, said Asha Agrawal, managing director of the Patagonia venture fund that runs the platform.

“A lot of our messaging is around—‘you don’t need to buy something new,’” she said.

Worn Wear buys back used brand gear from consumers by paying higher prices than peer-to-peer apps or other marketplaces, Agrawal said. This strategy contributes to the bulk of the platform’s costs but also boosted its inventory fourfold this year alone, she said, adding Worn Wear has been profitable for the last two years.

Worn Wear is now integrated into the Patagonia brand. “You can now do your main shopping with Patagonia with our resale business in the U.S.,” she said. “That’s a huge evolution for us.”

Resale by brands and third parties is expected to outpace traditional thrift sales and donations in the U.S., rising to 60% of a $70 billion total by 2027 from 15% of the $20 billion secondhand market in 2017, according to online thrift store ThredUp’s recent resale report.

Other fashion players have their versions. Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz launched H&M Pre-Loved in the U.S. this year, in partnership with ThredUp. Inditex-owned Zara has launched a preowned platform that offers repair services, customer-to-customer sales and donations of used garments in the U.K. and France, with plans for a U.S. rollout by 2025.

Resale remains an imperative for fashion brands as a way to control distribution and retain the trust of shoppers increasingly alert to the fate of their old clothes. However, scaling up resale generates a raft of operational challenges such as authentication, returns and ensuring that secondhand doesn’t look like an afterthought, said Anita Balchandani, fashion lead at consultant firm McKinsey & Co.

Unlike nonprofits, such as Goodwill, that get their inventory from donations and don’t have to be accountable to shareholders, retailers are struggling to make business sense of resales, Balchandani said.

“No one has proven the path to scaling this up profitably,” she said. “You almost have to create a whole new end-to-end supply chain…. The retailer who cracks that journey is going to make a real difference in this space.”



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .