Second Time Around on LI

8/8/2013 - Long Island Business News


Boston-based Second Time Around, the country's largest consignment retailer of designer clothing and accessories, opens its second store in Port Washington this week, after a successful six months at its first Long Island location in Huntington.

The chain, which carries new and "gently worn" merchandise sporting labels from Prada, Gucci and Chanel, has 46 locations nationwide and is expanding in several markets, with additional Long Island stores envisioned.

"We're in the midst of an aggressive expansion plan," said Second Time Around CEO Bill Soncini.

Unlike a thrift shop, which usually peddles donated goods to support charitable causes, a consignment shop takes in merchandise from individuals who are paid about half of the proceeds if and when their items are sold.

Second Time Around accepts items that are "seasonally appropriate" and no older than two years in new or like-new condition. There is a three-piece minimum to start an account. The chain pays consignors 40 percent on most clothing and accessories and 50 percent on designer handbags and furs.

Soncini said the selection turns over frequently and there is a lot of competitive shopping in the designer consignment world.

"Everybody's looking for a price," he said. "You've got to buy it that day or it's gone."

One hot seller in the Huntington store: slightly-used Hermes Birkin handbags, which are going for $5,000 a pop, versus an original retail price of $15,000, according to manager Laurie Kerner.

"We are developing a diverse base of customers and consignors who stop in frequently," Kerner said. "Some women are seeking $19 finds and some are looking to splurge."

Scott Galin and Darell Handler of Manhattan-based Handler Real Estate Organization, represented Second Time Around in the Port Washington lease and acts as its exclusive leasing agent nationally.

Now a $13 billion industry, consignment shops are visited each year by almost 15 percent of all Americans, according to the Association of Resale Professionals. By comparison, 11.4 percent of Americans shop in factory outlet malls, 19.6 percent in retail apparel stores and 21.3 percent in major department stores.

There are a few individually owned consignment shops on Long Island, including spots like Kiss Consignment in Commack, Design Consign Fashions in Smithtown and Purple Consignment in Port Washington, which is just across the street from Second Time Around's newest location.

But Soncini welcomes what he calls community, not competition: The chain has three stores on Boston's tony Newbury Street, where there are also four other upscale consignment shops.

"It gives us a built-in customer and provides more opportunity for bargain hunters," he said. "We do very well in areas with a high concentration of women and walk-in traffic."

Understandably, each store takes on the personality of the neighborhood, since the merchandise inside comes mostly from the folks who live there. On New York City's Upper East Side, for example, Second Time Around shoppers may find labels from Louis Vuitton, but at its Harvard Square store, the selection may run more toward J. Crew.

Either way, the thirst for high-end duds on the cheap is growing.

"Our sales are up significantly over last year," Soncini said.

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