Fundraising: eBay retailer's move into UK will benefit charities

iSold It, the US chain of eBay drop-off shops, is to open 200 shops in the UK and Ireland by 2010.

The franchises will give charities further access to the growing online marketplace for fundraising. iSold It has 600 shops across the US.

The shops work by providing a local point for people to drop off items they want to sell on eBay. Staff list an item on the online auction website, post it to the successful bidder, then send the customer a cheque for the winning amount, minus a commission. If an item fails to sell after being listed twice on eBay, it can be sold in a charity auction, with the money going to a charity nominated by the customer.

Phillip Molloy, the master franchisee of iSold It in the UK, is planning to open a shop in the Birmingham area this spring. "The eBay drop-off store concept has been eagerly awaited here - it's just what the UK market needs," he said.

Ten million buyers use eBay in the UK each year.

iSold It has partnered with Adopt a Minefield in the US. Catherine Hegarty, director of iSold It in Ireland, which opened its first shop in Dublin last November, said the company is hoping to work with local Irish charities.

The London-based company Auctioning4u, which already has seven shops offering a similar service to iSold It, has teamed up with 24 Barnado's shops in the south east of England. Sellers who drop items off can donate some or all of the final sale price to charity.

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