Charity shops' stock levels hit by bad weather

By Sophie Hudson, Third Sector Online, 9 December 2010

Charity shops' stock levels drop

Charity shops' stock levels drop

High street chains appeal for more winter clothing stock as donations in snow-hit areas fall sharply

Charity shops have struggled to maintain healthy stock levels during the recent spate of bad weather, organisations have revealed.

Heavy snow and low temperatures have caused major difficulties for shops in many areas of the UK because people have not been able to make donations.

The British Heart Foundation said shop managers in areas worst hit by the snow have reported a drop in donations of up to 80 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: "We’ve taken such a massive hit on donations in general, it’s hard to say which items have suffered the most. Some shops in Scotland are getting nothing in at all, which is obviously a nightmare for us."

A spokeswoman for Barnardo’s said shop managers across the country were reporting that stocks of winter clothes were "desperately low". Barnardo’s Scotland launched an appeal this week for people to bring in more items such as jumpers and coats.

Helen Reynolds, the donated stock manager at Sue Ryder Care, said in some areas of the country its shops have also experienced a drop in donations.

"Recent bad weather, fewer people moving house and less disposable income resulting in fewer donations of items – as people aren’t buying as many replacement new items – are just some of the reasons to explain why donations have decreased," she said.

David Moir, the head of policy and public affairs at the Charity Retail Association, said he had heard anecdotal evidence that both donations and customers were down at many charity shops because of the weather.

"Certainly if shops aren’t getting the donations they need, then it is cause to worry," he said.

He said there was no obvious solution to the problem and that "we are all at the behest of the weather".

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