As Millennials Embrace Renting Over Owning — Even Clothes — Stores Are Taking Notice

By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ronald Friedman, a leader of the retail practice at Marcum, an accounting and advisory firm, said he isn’t surprised traditional merchants are trying rentals as a way to enhance customers’ shopping experience, the key to remaining competitive amid growing pressure on the retail market.

Los Angeles Times

The millennial generation’s embrace of renting rather than owning has spread far beyond housing and ride-sharing, and even some traditional major retailers are taking notice.

Online rental subscription services for clothing and accessories are on the rise, which means consumers can now get dressed using a virtual, rotating closet through several start-ups. Le Tote, for instance, rents clothing for everyday wear, Gwynnie Bee caters to plus-size women and the Ms. Collection sends users surprise items based on personal style.

Typically these start-ups charge a monthly fee and allow users to wear the clothing for a month, or sometimes an unlimited amount of time. Customers return the clothing without paying shipping or dry-cleaning costs.

It’s a model spearheaded by Rent the Runway, which began in 2009 as an online service where users could rent high-end, designer items at a fraction of the retail price, usually for a special event. The Manhattan company has since added two cheaper tiers to its service — an unlimited designer wardrobe for $159 a month and a low-cost option for $89 a month.

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