Charity shops across England and Wales have welcomed back shoppers today as the sector expects to “bounce back” with a surge of high-quality donated goods.
In advice published today, membership body the Charity Retail Association said it is anticipating strong trading and high levels of donations as non-essential shops, including charity shops, are permitted to reopen for the first time since lockdown began in January.
Under the guidelines, donated or returned stock no longer needs to be cleaned or isolated before being displayed on the shop floor, although hand-washing remains vital.
The CRA advice also says shops can reopen their changing rooms, but warns of ongoing risk management to ensure staff and volunteers are kept safe through daily conversations about their welfare.
This is particularly important for people that have been shielding during the national lockdown.
The CRA has urged the public to check with their local charity shops for opening times, and whether there are special arrangements for accepting donations.
Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said: “We are anticipating very strong trading when charity shops reopen, driven by high levels of stock as people donate large volumes of pre-loved belongings stored up during lockdown.
“Most charity shops will be reopening their doors today and are well-prepared to bounce back to life right away. There are comprehensive measures in place to keep people safe and innovative plans to deal with large volumes of donations.
“It was hugely impressive and heartwarming to see all the work being done by charity shop staff and volunteers to get ready for reopening.”
Many charities and their bosses took to Twitter to welcome customers back to their shops.
Oxfam GB confirmed in a tweet that most of its shops in England and Wales would reopen today.
The charity added: “We're so excited to be back and can't wait to see what pre-loved gems you discover.”
Chief executive of The Children’s Society, Mark Russell, said he was relieved and pleased that his charity’s shops were reopening.
He said: “If you live near one, please do visit and make a purchase and show your support for our amazing work with young people.”
Previous research by the CRA, published in November last year, suggested that the second national lockdown in England will cost the sector at least £28m in lost shop revenue.