(NEW YORK) -- Second-hand shops once considered the bottom-of-the-barrel for shoppers are getting a boost as consumers living the great recession discover better inventory and bargains.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, saw comparable store sales decline by 1.5 percent year-to-date, according to investment research firm Morningstar. Meanwhile, its competitor Target had a soft third quarter with comparable store sales up only slightly by 1.6 percent, according to Morningstar.
On the other hand, the thrift shops are enjoying an expansion of sales and customers.
"Our transaction growth has grown by over 30 percent over the last two years but the bulk has been over the last year," says George Erickson, the Salvation Army's Northern California director of retail, based in San Francisco. "All of these extra transactions had to come from some place -- it's my conclusion that all these customers have stepped down from the Kohl's, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Macy's and Nordstrom."
Since the start of the recession that has led to more than 8 million lost jobs, The Salvation Army has seen sales grow from $499 million in 2007 to $542 million in 2009.
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