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Charity shops saw winter boost in sales

Inside of a Shelter charity shop, Barnes. Copyright Melanie May

More people used charity shops over the last three months of 2022 compared to the same period in the previous year, research from the Charity Retail Association shows.

The Charity Retail Association’s data for October-December 2022 shows a 9.1% increase in the average number of transactions per day in charity shops compared to 2021, with many shops seeing strong sales over the Christmas period.

The data shows charity shops were popular with customers in the first Christmas trading period to be unaffected by Covid-19 since 2019. The average transaction value was £7 in October-December 2022, compared to £6.74 in the same period of 2021. Many factors can contribute to higher transaction values, such as people buying more items per transaction or buying higher-priced items.


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Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said:

“Charity shops have had a tough time over the past few years with Covid-19 and lockdowns severely impacting on the ability of bricks-and-mortar shops to trade. It’s fantastic to see the charity retail sector bouncing back and continuing to grow as shops develop new initiatives to meet the needs of their customers and attract new shoppers.”

Charities have developed a number of new strategies to boost footfall and engage with their local communities, including embracing digital marketing to reach new audiences, selling online (by 69% of respondents), opening new superstores and encouraging donations to meet customer demand. 44% of the charities asked said they had plans to open new stores in the next six months.

Osterley added:

“The cost-of-living crisis has shown just how important charity shops are in supporting people to have affordable shopping options with plenty of choice, and the data shows that they’re a vital and growing presence on local high streets.  The sector is still facing challenges, with many shops in need of more staff and volunteers to meet demand, but overall, the research shows that charity retail is in a really positive place and we anticipate that it will continue to thrive in 2023.”

The data referenced is from the Charity Retail Association’s Q4 Quarterly Market Analysis report (2022). 52 charities took part in the survey, representing 3,780 shops, and total retail income gives the total turnover generated by all shops – both in-store and online.