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Charity retailers outperforming high street stores

Charity retailers outperforming high street stores

Charity retailers saw three months of consecutive growth in Q4 last year, according to the latest BDO Charity Retail Sales Tracker. 

BDO LLP‘s Tracker tracks the monthly like-for-like sales of 4,000 charity stores, and found that total like-for-like sales increased +3.5% in October, +5.8% in November and +3.9% in December.

In comparison, the UK high street recorded its fifth year of falling in-store sales for retailers in 2019.

BDO attributes the continued rise to charity retailers benefitting from conscious consumerism and a lack of consumer confidence, which, it says, is making shoppers think twice about what they buy and where they buy from.

Christmas provided a strong boost to charity shops, with sales up +3.9% from a very strong base last year (+6.0%). This is the fifth consecutive year of sales growth during December.

While sales of new goods continued to do generally well for charity shops, sales of donated goods also did well towards the end of the year.

Sales under the retail Gift Aid scheme were boosted too throughout the final quarter of the year, reporting Gift Aid conversion rates of  31.3% (Oct), 32.2% (Nov) and 31.2% (Dec).

Fiona Condron, partner in the charity sector at BDO, said:

“Despite tough conditions on the commercial high street, charity retailers are bucking the trend and have pulled off another performance to be proud of.

“There has been a lot of political and economic uncertainty in the last year, and some high-profile retail failures during the summer, which has added to shoppers’ reluctance to spend.

“However, while low levels of discretionary spend and the rise in conscious consumerism is hitting high streets hard, charity retail seems to be reaping the benefits as shoppers turn to more affordable and sustainable alternatives.”

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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