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July 16, 2024
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Circular Retail is Emerging as a Growing Segment for Commercial Real Estate


This report was written by Alanna Loeffler, Managing Director of Business Strategy, Americas Retail Services, Cushman & Wakefield


• Circular Retail is rapidly emerging as a thriving sector of retail in the United States.

• Today’s conscious consumer has an increasing focus on sustainability and are becoming more aware of the environmental impacts of fast fashion, excessive consumption, and waste generation.

• They are actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and engage in more sustainable practices. Circular retail meets this demand by providing a solution that promotes reuse, extends the lifespan of products, and reduces overall waste.

• Within the circular retail sector, we are witnessing the rise of different types of business models, and we’re seeing them play out among brick-and-mortar stores, as well as shifts in retailers’ supply chain & distribution needs.

• Luxury resale platforms like The RealReal have gained popularity, offering consumers access to high-end, pre-owned fashion items. These platforms authenticate and curate the products, providing a trusted marketplace for luxury goods and an in-store experience that would rival a traditional high-end shop.

• On the other hand, digital consignment retailers like ThredUp have revolutionized the second-hand market by offering a wide range of pre-loved clothing and accessories, catering to a broader consumer base.

• Lastly, even traditional retailers like Lululemon, Ralph Lauren, Patagonia and Levi’s…. have recognized the potential of circular retail and have started incorporating resale programs into their business models. This strategic move allows them to tap into the growing market for sustainable and second-hand products as well as take ownership of the sales experience of their secondhand goods, and thus, maintain control of their total brand experience. And, by offering customers the option to resell or trade in their used items, these retailers are actively participating in the circular economy and meeting the evolving needs of eco-conscious consumers.

• As circular retail continues to evolve, it presents an incredible opportunity for retailers to align with consumer values, reduce their environmental footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable future. We can’t wait to see what that means for the evolution of the physical shopping experience in malls and high streets across the U.S.

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