The good performance of charity shops is one of the main reasons for recent growth in the retail sector, according to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS figures for retail sales in October 2017 show that a recent 0.9 per cent increase in the quantity of goods purchased was largely down to the performance of second-hand goods stores, specifically charity shops.
The retail statistics show that the three-month period to the end of October 2017 "was one of growth", with the quantity of goods bought in all types of stores increasing by 0.9 per cent and the amount spent increasing by 1.5 per cent, compared with the previous quarter.
There was also a 0.3 per cent increase in the quantity of retail goods bought in October compared with the previous month, the figures show. The ONS said this was largely due to the performance of non-food stores, in particular second-hand goods stores such as charity shops.
The ONS figures show that non-food shops, excluding petrol stations and clothes stores, accounted for a 0.4 percentage-point increase to the overall monthly growth in retail sales, with the largest contribution coming from second-hand goods stores, which include auction houses and antique and fine-art dealers as well as charity shops.
Despite this, the overall statistics show a 0.3 per cent fall in the quantity of goods bought in October 2017 compared with October 2016, although the amount spent was 2.8 per cent higher in a comparison of the same periods.
Robin Osterley, chief executive of the Charity Retail Association, said: "The recent ONS figures in relation to second-hand goods sales are extremely welcome, with charity shops continuing to provide excellent value for people up and down the country. Despite the recent economic uncertainty, the sector has proved resilient."
An all-party parliamentary group for charity retail was launched this week by the Charity Retail Association, and will be chaired by the former energy secretary and Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey.