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Selling the Finer Things in Life: Priceless

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The National Association of Retail & Thrift Shops reports that consignment shop inventory and sales are up as a result of the struggling economy, with many upper-income Americans parting ways with luxury items such as handbags, watches and shoes.

"The resale industry is one of the few recession proof segments of retailing," states NARTS. "Not only does it survive during economic slowdowns but it grows and thrives. The appeal is twofold: Consumers are attracted to buying quality merchandise at a fraction of the original cost, and there is also a financial incentive to sell, consign or donate their unused or unwanted items." Newsweek states that the trade in used high-end fashion and jewelry is booming.

"The unloading of luxury goods and the increased number of bargain hunters has created good times for the resale sector," the magazine reports. "Profits have leaped, with some shops saying their sales have doubled and tripled."

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