The first 'Wishes' shop opened in west London last week. A further four are due to open across England, with a further outlet in East Kilbride in Scotland, over the coming six weeks.
The shops stock a range of specially designed cards and gifts and aims to extend the brand's audience to a younger, more discerning market. All products will be new, and the look and feel of the stores will be a departure from traditional charity shops.
In-store marketing will be subtle, with staff and volunteers trained for a more commercial customer service than Cancer Research UK's existing outlets.
The charity's retail director Richard Taylor, said: "This is a major initiative for Cancer Research UK as we are the first charity in the UK to develop a mainstream chain of card shops. There is always demand in our shops for Christmas and greeting cards, and in addition to this we identified a niche in the market, which encouraged us to invest in this area."
The charity already employs 800 staff across a chain of 640 shops, which last year brought in £15.5m for the charity. Some 50 per cent of their income goes directly to the charity's research work.