Plato’s Closet Parent to Launch Another Women’s Resale Brand

Winmark Corporation, which has been growing recently thanks to its fast-growing Plato’s Closet women’s clothing resale franchise, will soon launch another similar concept.

Winmark Corporation, a Plymouth-based company that owns retail franchises—including Plato’s Closet and Once Upon A Child—on Tuesday announced plans to launch another franchise chain, which will focus on the resale of women’s clothing and accessories.
 
Winmark CEO John Morgan told Twin Cities Business on Wednesday that the new concept is yet to be named but will be rolled out by June 1 with the opening of a company-owned store in the Twin Cities. Winmark is currently scouting locations for the first store and expects to begin selling franchises by the time the first store opens.
 
Stores under the new chain will sell used clothing and accessories to women in their late-20s to late-50s. Meanwhile, Winmark’s Plato’s Closet chain also resells women’s apparel but caters to teenagers and women in their 20s. Morgan said that there is great demand for women’s clothing resale stores and that Plato’s Closet is one of its fastest-growing franchises.
 
The company also owns Play It Again Sports, which retails both new and used sporting goods and fitness equipment, and Music Go Round, which sells new and used musical instruments and equipment. Its Once Upon A Child brand is a resale franchise for kids' clothing and toys.
 
Winmark is among Minnesota’s smaller public companies (it is the 75th-largest based on annual revenue), but it has been growing steadily in recent years. For the third quarter that ended in September, net income rose 22.3 percent from the same quarter of 2011 to total $4.3 million, and its revenue of $14.8 million represented a 25.7 percent year-over-year increase. The company will release its 2012 annual report in February.
 
Morgan said most of the company’s growth can be attributed to Plato’s Closet, which added 26 stores across the United States and in Canada during the first nine months of 2012. During the same period, Play It Again Sports added two stores, Once Upon A Child added 11, and Music Go Round added one. The company now has a total of about 968 franchised stores, about a third of which are Plato’s Closet.
 
“The women’s used-clothing concept is really gaining acceptance and has been working very well for us,” Morgan said.
 
Winmark is not the only local company that has tapped into this demand. Minnetonka-based Clothes Mentor and Minneapolis-based Ragstock also resell women’s apparel. But Morgan believes there is room in the market.
 
In addition to leading a growing company, Morgan recently also made poker history of sorts at a high-stakes tournament, when he made his Russian opponent fold four eights by leading him to believe that he would be beaten with a straight flush. Learn more by reading the story in Twin Cities Business’ September issue here.

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