Selfridges aims for half of transactions to be from sustainable avenues by 2030

Sales of secondhand items at the department store rose by 240 per cent in 2021

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 02 September 2022 09:11 BST
<p>Selfridge’s landmark London store </p>

Selfridge’s landmark London store

Selfridges wants almost half of its transactions to be based on repair, resale, rental or refills by 2030.

The landmark department store’s ambitious new plan is a response to consumer demands for a more sustainable shopping experience.

Sales of secondhand items rose by 240 per cent in 2021, evidencing the desire for more conscious products.

The retailer also facilitated 28,000 repairs, more than a third of which were pairs of trainers.

It also rented out more than 2,000 items to customers and sold more than 8,000 refills.

Selfridges says that over 50 per cent of customers want to make more environmentally-conscious choices, prompting the creation of their Project Earth collection in 2017, which in 2021 included over 1,200 of the store’s 3,000 brands and accounted for over 12 per cent of all own-bought sales.

Brands wishing to partake in the scheme must meet nine rigorous criteria, informed by internationally recognised standards, such as being animal-friendly, vegan, reusable, and repairable.

The retailer has also committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Repair services will now be offered in the Birmingham and two Manchester stores, while rental will also expand into new categories including fine jewellery, accessories, menswear and childrenswear.

Interest in secondhand fashion platforms such as Depop, Vinted and Vestiaire Collective has continued to grow, with the secondhand market expected to be larger than fast fashion by 2030, according to reports.

According to the World Economic Forum,the fashion industry is responsible for an estimated 10 per cent of humanity’s carbon emissions and has the fifth largest carbon footprint of any industry.

Every second, a truckload of garments is going to landfill or incineration, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

And a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found some 93 billion cubic metres of water - enough to meet the needs of five million people - is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of microfibre, which is the equivalent of three million barrels of oil, is being dumped into the ocean every year.

“For us, reinventing retail means asking – and responding to – challenging questions about how we want to live our lives,” said Selfridges’ managing director Andrew Keith.

“We can’t talk about the future of retail without keeping the future of our planet at the heart of the conversation.”

He adds: “Today, more than ever, we need to take big, bold decisions. The future of retail is circular, which means leaving behind our linear, transactional ways - customers on one side of the counter and us behind it.”

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