Calgary consignment stores deluged by high-end brands amid downturn

Amid Alberta's economic downturn, the shelves of Calgary's consignment stores are overflowing with luxury items and heirloom jewellery.

Jessica Carruthers, one of the managers of SalvEdge Boutique on 8th Street SW, said the store is stacked with more high-end labels like Chanel, Gucci and Alexander McQueen than she's ever seen before.

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"I was joking with a customer the other day that we are recession-proof," Carruthers said.

She said it's likely due to people feeling the crunch from the economy.

"Not that we want to capitalize on a bad situation," said Carruthers. "We're just seeing amazing things, people cleaning out their closets … and realizing that those things can actually make them some money."

Carruthers believes this month will be the best December on the books for her business.

There are more classic pieces up for grabs as well.

A Vintage Affair on 11 Avenue SW has seen a jump in rare costume jewellery from the 1950s.

"We see more people coming in wanting to sell goods that maybe they inherited or perhaps were hanging on to and decided at this point they would rather have the money rather than the actual item," said Theresa Morgan, co-owner of A Vintage Affair.

Other store owners believe there are just more people buying and selling in consignment stores this year.

"I think people are getting kind of desperate," said Heather McQueen, one of the managers at Trends Fashions in Kensington. She sorts through which clothes will be resold at the store.

"They're just going through their clothing and being like, 'Maybe I can make some money off of this.'"

She also said they're not necessarily seeing more shoppers come through the door, but people are spending more with each transaction because they can stretch their money a lot further.

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