The profits of charity shops were 8 per cent higher in the first quarter of this year than in the same period last year, according to figures published today by the Association of Charity Shops.
Quarterly sales data collated by the association, which has about 300 members, showed income, excluding Gift Aid, reached £110m during the period. This was just 0.4 per cent up on last year.
David Moir, head of policy & public affairs at the association, attributed the rise in profitability at a time of flat sales to shops reducing their costs.
"Increased charity shop profits - that is, vital funds raised for charity - are very welcome at a time when demand for charity services is high," said Moir.
About 70 per cent of the 6,800 shops represented by the association participated in the survey.
Shop sales recovered after a poor January, when the weather was bad and prevented many shop volunteers going to work.
Moir said: "Like other retailers, charity shops took a real hit from the poor weather early on. These sales figures suggest charity shops were perhaps hit a bit harder. So the fact that they increased their profits is excellent news."