Charity shops are increasing in number faster than any other major retail sector, according to new figures from the professional services firm PwC.
A report from PwC and the research firm the Local Data Company on "multiple retailers" – organisations with more than five outlets in the 500 biggest town centres in England, Scotland and Wales – shows that a net 142 charity shops opened in 2013, more than any category of retailer.
The net 142 openings in 2013 represent a 4.2 per cent rise in the number of shops operated by charity retailers with more than five outlets, the report says.
Across all multiple retailers, there was a net reduction in the number of stores of 371 last year, compared with 1,779 in 2012.
The second-largest net increase was in the number of convenience stores, with a rise of 137 shops, while photo retail, women’s clothing and banks and financial institutions all closed more than 100 outlets each on aggregate.
PwC said that 360 charity shops opened last year; 218 closed, it said. The Charity Retail Association estimates that there are 9,600 charity shops in England, Scotland and Wales.Mark Hudson, retail consulting leader at PwC, said: "The pace of net closures has slowed this year, driven by a dash for convenience stores, cheque cashing, coffee shops and betting shops, plus the usual growth in charity stores – it remains to be seen how close to capacity these sectors are, especially as we start to climb out of this recession."