Germany's second-hand clothing market is still experiencing considerable financial pressure, with market players widely saying that they were "proceeding extremely cautiously." Lower collection volumes for weather-related and seasonal reasons meant that companies were at least able to reduce their high inventories of original collected stock a little, and "supply pressure" had abated.
That being said, the outlook was still "extremely difficult," one big market player said, especially as long as all-important sales to Eastern Europe – critical to covering costs – continued to be hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. After all, "customers are only buying material that they can sell quickly at the moment." There are also concerns that new clothing remaining unsold due to the lockdown might end up on the second-hand market as remnants.
Warehouses storing better-quality sorted clothing thus remained very full, with shop-quality clothing, which provides the biggest margin for recyclers, hard to sell retail outlets are closed. With no signs of a fundamental improvement on the horizon, more and more industry associations are calling for the introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems for textiles, due also in part to plans for an EU-wide separate collection obligation for waste textiles that will take effect in 2025.