French retailer Gémo tests new rental and resale service
Coming to terms with fashion’s new business models requires testing and making adjustments. French family fashion retailer Gémo has ventured in this direction, launching new tests on clothes rental and resale opportunities.
At the end of October, the chain owned by the Eram group introduced a rental service for maternity and breastfeeding clothes, in partnership with French specialist Lizee. Gémo had first experimented with this type of service in 2016, renting out evening and party wear. The new initiative is targeted at pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, who can rent up to eight items for a €40 monthly fee.
Customers can sign up for the service on a dedicated website called Gémo Location. Products are shipped to their homes or to pick-up points. After being rented a number of times, the clothes are donated to the Emmaüs charity store in Wambrechies, near Lille in the north of France, next door to the Lizee warehouse.
Gémo is keen to tap this emerging approach to apparel consumption, as the global clothes rental market is expected to be worth €1.907 billion by 2023, having recorded an average annual growth rate of 10.6% since 2017, according to a study by Data Bridge Market Research. Gémo’s competitor Kiabi had tested maternity wear rental in the past, before extending the service to clothes for the whole family at three of its French stores.
Operating in the resale segment isn't a novelty for Gémo. The chain collaborated with Rediv (formerly Patatam) from 2020 to early 2022, collecting and selling pre-owned clothes in 10 branches, in dedicated sections called "seconde vie [second life] by Gémo”. The partnership was halted “because the results were not as expected,” said Gémo, which has now teamed up with resale specialist Once Again.
At the end of October, Gémo deployed a 120 square metre section dedicated to second-hand clothes at its store in Compiègne. The retail area is managed independently by Once Again, and showcases over 2,500 pre-owned items by third-party brands, priced €14 on average. Notably, customers bringing in clothes they no longer wear are paid directly in cash, and not with shopping vouchers as was the case previously.
Once Again’s business model is “more attractive, and it enables us to sell quality second-hand products by major labels to our customers,” said Renaud Montin, Gémo’s head of marketing and digital. “These two new services are consumption alternatives designed to extend the life cycle of clothes, adopting a functional economy approach that favours use rather than purchase,” he added.
Gémo was founded in France in 1991 and operates over 440 stores, employing 4,000 people. In 2021, the chain generated a revenue of €845 million.
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