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Charity shop numbers down in UK but profits up

Charity shop numbers down in UK but profits up

The number of charity shops in the UK has decreased for the first time in 15 years although profits are up, according to the latest edition of the annual Charity Shops Survey.

Produced by Civil Society and sponsored by the Charity Retail Association, the Charity Shops Survey shows a small decrease in shop numbers, with the charity respondents reporting 12 fewer shops in total than last year.

Profits in the sector have increased after two years of declining profitability, with retail income rising by 3.8%. Costs have also risen however by around the same percentage: 3.9%, although this is lower than last year, according to the report.

Robin Osterley, Association Chief Executive, said:

“After two years of declining profitability across the sector it is with some relief and satisfaction that we are able to observe a significant increase in profitability this year.

“This bears out our suspicion from recent years that there was somewhat of a “perfect storm” of cost pressures affecting charity retail; whether in staffing costs from pension auto-enrolment, the National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy, from increased rents, or from other significant headwinds.

“Now that these significant changes have worked their way through the system, there is a return to a more normal pattern of trading and further proof, if any were needed, of the resilience of the sector.”

The full survey costs £99 and is available from Civil Society.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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