'Incredible' almost 7 per cent rise in charity shop income

The figures from the Charity Retail Association are based on business conducted between June and September compared with before the pandemic

Charity shops

Income per charity shop has increased by almost seven per cent compared with before the pandemic, according to new research. 

The membership body the Charity Retail Association has published its latest quarterly analysis, for the period between June and September, which is based on figures from 56 charities operating more than 3,000 shops. 

The CRA described the findings as “remarkable” because there was a 6.8 per cent rise in income per shop compared to the same period in 2019, despite shops having significant difficulties because of the pandemic and issues recruiting staff. 

The average transaction value also increased by more than £1 to £6.90 and 70 per cent of respondents said they were now selling online, with those sales on average making up 2.4 per cent of total income. 

The CRA said this growth was being fuelled by charity shops being seen as the place to go for cost-effective goods that provide value for money at a time of economic uncertainty. 

A second factor is an increase in interest in sustainability and environmental issues, particularly among young people, according to the membership body. 

The CRA said this was not only creating a reliable source of stock but also a large cadre of people choosing to shop in charity shops as an antidote to fast fashion as a way of reducing their carbon footprint and as a sign of their commitment to reducing waste. 

Researchers also found that 70 per cent of respondents were finding it difficult to recruit staff and 56 per cent reported that staffing levels were having a negative impact on income.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, praised the sector’s hard work, creativity and diligence.

“I am aware that a fantastic set of results for the sector as a whole does not necessarily mean that any individual charity is doing well,” he said. 

“I know that some of you are still suffering from the after-effects of the worst year that any of us would have known in our trading lifetimes; or indeed perhaps in our lifetimes as a whole.

“Nevertheless, taking the UK position in its entirety, this is an incredible set of results.”

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