Donations to Oxfam shops fall

But demand remains strong in charity's 714 stores

Donations to Oxfam charity shops have fallen for the first time in eight years.

The charity said donations of clothes, books, music and other goods had declined by 12 per cent so far in 2009 compared with last year, which could mean 1.2 million fewer donations this year.

However, it said the number of shoppers visiting its 714 stores was the same as last year and new measures, such as the introduction of fashion boutiques and asking volunteers to keep shops open longer, had contributed to a 5 per cent increase in sales.

David McCullough, director of trading at Oxfam, blamed the recession for the decline in donations.

"The £20m profit made by our shops last year would be enough to fund all of Oxfam's work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia for a year," he said. "But we can't sell fresh air."

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