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Charity shops' turnover reached nearly £1 billion in past year

Charity shops' turnover reached nearly £1 billion in past year

Charity shops in the UK handled nearly £1 billion of turnover in 2011, a record amount, and an increase of 3.6% on the previous year.

The research from the shows that more people are buying from charity shops, with nearly one million more people “from hard-pressed middle class groups are shopping in charity shops since June last year.”

Choose Charity Shops campaign launched

However, many charity shops are struggling to meet the increased demand. National charities have combined to launch the ‘Choose Charity Shops’ campaign to get more donated goods through the doors of charity shops. The campaign runs throughout this week.

It is supported by existing Charity Retail Association members including Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross and Barnardo’s, together with hundreds of local hospices and smaller charities.

The high demand is set to continue. According to the research, 22% of respondents said that they are shopping in charity shops more frequently now than two years ago, and 19% of existing customers said they would buy even more from charity shops in the next 12 months.

However, charities are facing competition in how to dispose of unwanted clothes and goods. One in six people report they have started selling their unwanted clothes to make money instead of donating them. In addition, 15% of people who did not donate said it was because they could not afford to buy new clothing so are keeping things for longer.

Unwanted clothing still not being donated

The Charity Retail Association said that there are still millions of people with unwanted clothing and goods at home that could be converted into cash for charities. The survey found taht three quarters of people saying they have clothing in their wardrobe they no longer use, while the top three reasons people don’t donate is because they haven’t got round to it, haven’t had time or simply haven’t thought about it.

Warren Alexander, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said: “The unused and unwanted items in people’s homes are worth millions of pounds to charities, and we hope the ‘Choose Charity Shops’ campaign will act as a reminder to people that making a donation of unused clothing or goods to their local charity shop is a great way to help charity when you don’t have cash to give.”

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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