Charity retailers 'outperformed the high street' in quarter four last year

The Charity Retail Sales Tracker, produced by the accountancy firm BDO, reports three consecutive months of growth compared with the previous year

Charity shops: Gift Aid conversion rates up
Charity shops: Gift Aid conversion rates up

Charity shops outperformed high-street shops in the last three months of 2019, the latest figures show.

The latest Charity Retail Sales Tracker, which tracks like-for-like sales at 4,000 charity stores and is produced by the accountancy firm BDO, shows that charity shops reported three consecutive months of growth in quarter four of 2019.

In October sales grew by 3.5 per cent on the same period in 2018. In November, they grew by 5.8 per cent on the previous year. And they were up by 3.9 per cent on the previous year in December, the fifth year running that December sales had improved.

Meanwhile, the rest of the high street reported its fifth year of falling in-store sales in 2019.

In a statement BDO said charity retailers were benefiting from conscious consumerism and a lack of consumer confidence made shoppers think twice about what they bought and where they bought from.

Fiona Condron, charity sector partner 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 past 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.”

The shops BDO looked at also reported a year-on-year boost in Gift Aid conversion rates, with 31.3 per cent of sales including Gift Aid in October, 32.2 per cent in November and 31.2 per cent in December.

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