Charity shop sales rose by 4.7 per cent between April and June compared with the same period last year, new figures show, in contrast to the commercial sector, which saw sales fall.
According to statistics released today by the Charity Retail Association in its Quarterly Market Analysis report, charity retail sales from customer purchases were up by 4.7 per cent in quarter two of 2018 compared with the same period in the previous year, as was like-for-like income excluding Gift Aid. When Gift Aid income was added, the income increase was 4.8 per cent.
The survey of 82 CRA members, representing 5,296 shops, found that a higher proportion of charity shops closed during the quarter than during the corresponding period in 2017, a fall of 0.5 per cent, compared with 0.1 per cent last year.
Despite this, and a fall in high-street footfall of 4.8 per cent, the charity retail sector outperformed the commercial sector, where non-food sales fell in quarter two by 0.1 per cent on the year before.
A CRA spokesman said: "Despite large commercial high-street chains in the UK struggling recently, the second quarter of this year saw people head to charity shops in encouraging numbers.
"We don’t have the exact science behind why our members’ shops are bucking the overall consumer trend, but what we do know is that charity shops provide an ethical and environmental alternative, plus an attractive avenue to those purchasing goods on a tighter budget."
The average weekly turnover for charity shops was £2,246 and the average transaction value was £3.89, the survey found.
Like-for-like sales of donated goods rose by 4.6 per cent on quarter two of 2017, up from the 1.5 per cent increase from the same quarter in 2016.
Income from rag sales – when clothes are sold on in bulk for recycling – was up by 9.8 per cent on quarter two of 2017, despite a fall of 2p in the price per kilo, to 45p, in the first three months of 2018.
Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said: "Despite shoppers’ habits changing and big chain stores suffering in the high street recently, these figures show charity shops are very much alive and kicking.
"The report shows growth in key areas and we hope this good news continues for our members."