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In Between the Numbers: Renting Prosperity – A New Value Proposition

June 25, 2012 at 8:37 am PST

Have been thinking about the retail implications of an early May article in the Wall Street Journal.

“Renting Prosperity” (by Daniel Gross, May 5) spoke to the growing trend of rental – and not just in the traditional housing or automotive markets.  Numerous other rental business have emerged in recent years, from the Zipcar car-sharing plan to the Chegg.com college textbook service to the one million customers who have used Rent the Runway’s frock-and-accessory services.

The obvious implication for retail is all about new business models.  A number of traditional brick-and-mortar players are now testing the waters.  We’re aware of initiatives in which purveyors of hard goods are renting clothes washing machines by the load and high-end consumers of electronics are leasing home theatre set-ups and even iPads – along with monthly subscriptions, say, to Netflix. 

But the lessons of the rental trend go deeper than simply a new business model. 

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