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Retail Roundup: Luxe purse reseller Rebag comes to LI 

Customers Brittany Spirito, left, and Victoria Scalli, both

Customers Brittany Spirito, left, and Victoria Scalli, both 19 and from Merrick, browse at Rebag at Roosevelt Field mall. Credit: Danielle Silverman

In the market to drop $2,200 on a used Chanel purse?

If so, Rebag might have what you want.

A luxury handbag secondhand retailer, Rebag has continued to expand its footprint into high-end retail properties with the opening of its first Long Island store -- at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City on Sept. 26.

“Resale is now becoming a mainstream industry and, to be honest, I think it’s still the beginning,” said Charles Gorra, Rebag’s founder and chief executive officer.

The Roosevelt Field location is Rebag’s fourth store in New York and eighth location overall.

But this isn’t your grandma’s consignment shop. 

Rebag buys customers’ handbags bearing the names of the top 50 luxury brands, including Chanel, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada, and resells them at 20 percent to 80 percent off their original retail prices.

For pricey-purse possessors who want to unload their pocketbooks in a physical store, Rebag will authenticate the handbags, evaluate them for price quotes and, if the owners accept the quotes, pay them with electronic transfers of funds. The process takes no more than an hour, Gorra said.

“And that’s sort of the magic of the model,” he said.

The resale company was founded in 2014 as an online retailer — and most of its transactions still occur online.

Rebag typically deals with two types of customers, Gorra said.

One is the supplier, who is a more mature customer with limited time but who has the means to buy high-end bags from the firsthand market, he said.

The other is the more “aspirational customer,” who is younger, maybe late 20s or early 30s, and who might have a few hundred dollars to spend on a purse but not $1,000, he said.

“They’re getting into the luxury world at the more attractive price points through the resale market,” he said.

 Bags at Rebag are priced from $155 to $55,860, a spokesman said. 

Secondhand sales of high-end clothes, accessories and other goods are growing in part because the stigma associated with buying used merchandise is declining.  

Furthermore, 26 percent of luxury shoppers say they shop secondhand, according to a 2019 report from thredUP, a San Francisco-based online consignment and thrift store, and GlobalData, a Manhattan-based retail analytics firm.  

In 2016, 45 percent of women bought or said they were willing to buy secondhand products in general, compared to 64 percent in 2018, according to the report.

Rebag is generating some attention in the form of cash.

In February, the company announced that it had secured $25 million in investment capital from a private equity firm, Novator.  That Series C funding brought its total funding raised to $52 million.

The funding will be used to increase Rebag's number of stores, expand its technology and hire talent, the company said.

Rebag plans to add 30 stores over the next two to three years, Gorra said.

But some high-end handbag makers might not be too keen on their stuff being resold at discount prices.

Three that I called — Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton — did not return calls for comment.

In November, Chanel filed a lawsuit against The RealReal, which is also a luxury resale website, for allegedly selling at least seven counterfeit Chanel purses.

The RealReal denied the allegations and claimed in a court filing that Chanel’s lawsuit was an attempt to “undermine consumer confidence in the secondary market, and stifle legitimate competition.”

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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