The British Heart Foundation (BHF) today opens its 700th store, and claims that it is the UK’s largest charity retailer by number of stores and income.
The charity’s shops have achieved their most successful year to date: 2010 to 2011 saw them generate a profit of £26 million, an increase of 18% on the previous year. Back in 2002/03 the charity was making a profit of £10 million. It recognises that the recession “is increasing the demand for the affordable, good quality items charity shops offer”.
The first BHF Shop opened in 1986 in Edenbridge, Kent and to date the shops business has produced profits of £210 million. The number of shops grew rapidly during the 1990s, with a new BHF shop being opened on average every 10 days.
Current growth focuses on BHF Furniture & Electrical Stores, which specialise in second-hand furniture and electrical items. The 700th store that opens today in Woolwich is the 133rd Furniture and Electrical Stores.
BHF Retail Director, Mike Lucas, said: “As the leading charity retailer in terms of the income – as well as scale of stores – it’s clear our shops are proving a popular choice for shoppers keen to buy good quality items at low prices.”
He added: “Today our main concern is keeping up with demand. The supply of stock is slowing, partly because consumers aren’t updating their homes and wardrobes at the same rate and therefore donating fewer second-hand items.”