Thrift, Consignment Stores See Holiday Uptick in Sales
A national trend showing increase in resale buys continues in Leesburg
A national trend toward increasing sales in the resale industry continued through the holiday season, at least in Leesburg.
In August the National Association of Retail Professionals, an association of resale, thrift and consignment stores, released figures from a 2010 survey showing a 12.7 percent growth in sales in 2009.
During this time, retail sales were down generally by 7.3 percent, according to the statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In Leesburg, some shops saw this trend continue into the holiday season.
Susie Mason, manager of Capital Treasures, a thrift store benefiting Capital Hospice, said she estimated a 20 percent increase in sales for the month.
But she linked this to greater donations in the holiday season— donations were up by 50 percent.
"You have to have the merchandise to sell the merchandise," she said.
She said volunteers have to sort donations daily, and clothes are the item most often donated and sold. She said even during the regular season, she has customers who come in almost every day looking for deals. Typically, people spend no more than $25 at a time on items ranging from used clothes, books and home décor.
Sheila Ralph, one of the owners of Consignment Boutique in Leesburg, saw an increase in consignments and purchases for the month of December.
She said women's clothes and jewelry were always the biggest sellers, no matter what time of year, but she also saw an increase in sales of home décor and "unique, one-of-a-kind gift items."
"We did really well, and it's continuing into the New Year," she said.
But there were stores whose business remained steady during the holidays.
Business at the Resourceful Woman Thrift Store was about the same during the holidays, according to Program Manager Kathy Gilman. About 200 people a week shop at the store, which benefits the Loudoun Abused Women's shelter.