British Heart Foundation shops achieve a record £1 million in sales as high streets reopen

The British Heart Foundation has reported its busiest ever day for its network of charity shops as the third national lockdown was partially lifted on Monday.

The charity’s shops, like many other charity shops in England and Wales, have been closed for nearly four months.

This record sales total was achieved despite some of its shops in Scotland and all in Northern Ireland remaining closed.

In line with Government guidelines, shops in England and Wales have reopened with safety measures in place. These include social distancing on the shop floor, screens at till points and hand sanitiser available to customers.

Sales data suggests that customers were “particularly keen to snap up furniture, as they refresh homes for Spring”.

The charity is clear that it wants to encourage people to “keep dropping by with any good quality items they wish to donate”. Some charities have struggled with the volume of donated goods at the end of of previous Covid-19 lockdowns.

The closure of BHF’s shops and cancellation of fundraising events has seen the charity’s net income “cut in half”. Consequently it has had to cut its funding for new research from £100m to £50m in the last year.

Summer wear

The shops are particularly keen to receive summer wear to sell throughout the coming season. 

Acknowledging that some people will not feel comfortable visiting high street shops, the charity has been running a freepost donation service. Donors can use it to post smaller items such as branded clothing, jewellery, vinyl records and cameras. 

Retail Director at British Heart Foundation, Allison Swaine-Hughes said:

“We want to say a huge thank you to our shops teams, who have worked tirelessly to get back up and running across England and Wales this week, we couldn’t have done it without you. We are also hugely grateful to local communities who hit the high street to help support us, by shopping and donating – we are so happy to have you back.”

The BHF has around 730 shops across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales including 540 standard shops and over 190 Home stores, selling up to 85,000 items every day.  Each year, the BHF eBay shop sells around 150,000 high value and unusual items to raise funds for heart and circulatory diseases. 

Sense shops also achieve record one-day income

Sense charity shop - photo: Sense
Inside a Sense charity shop

Sense, the charity which supports people with complex disabilities, also broke its own one-day sales record on Monday, as restrictions were lifted on non-essential shops.

107 Sense shops reopened across England and Wales, and together beat the charity’s previous one-day sales record set in December 2020 by 85%.

Sense Director of Trading, Adrian Darkin, said:

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from our communities across the country.  We’ve had huge numbers of people coming in to donate stock and buy goods, but they’re staying to talk to staff and reflect on what’s been happening over the year.

It’s only the beginning of course, but to start in this fashion is a huge boost to our staff and volunteers who have had such a challenging 12-months, and have put everything into the reopening.”

Like BHF, Sense have set up a free postal service, through which the public can send donated stock if they don’t wish to visit a Sense shop in person.

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