Luxury stores are 'card Scrooges'

Two of London's luxury department stores were this week named and shamed for stocking charity Christmas cards that give a tiny proportion of their sales to good causes.

The Charities Advisory Trust's annual charity Christmas cards audit found that Regent's Street store Liberty was selling the card with the smallest donation, earning the trust's Georgy Porgy Award for the Greedy. A card published by Caroline Gardner, sold in aid of the Meningitis Trust, donates 20p - 2.9 per cent - of the £6.95 price to the charity.

Meanwhile, Harrods won the Scrooge Award for its range of 35 designs that donate only 3 per cent of the pack price to a range of charities.

"Harrods features every year," said Hilary Blume, director of the trust.

"We think they must like getting the award, otherwise they wouldn't go for it. The store offers a big range of cards and captures a lot of the market by choosing charities that have the public's goodwill - it's inappropriate."

Blume called on charities not to lend their names to cards that donate less than 10 per cent of the pack price.

"If you are a big-brand charity, you can negotiate because card publishers choose big charities to benefit," she said. She blamed charities for accepting the deals and retailers for stocking the cards.

A spokeswoman for the Meningitis Trust said the charity tried to maximise the amount it received through its own cards or through cards created by third parties.

Harrods said the value of donations was agreed between the card manufacturer and the charity. "One presumes that charities do so willingly and with full possession of the facts, and are grateful for the money," a spokesman said. Liberty did not comment.

The trust's annual card audit surveys all the main high-street shops offering charity Christmas cards. The survey is held during the last week of October and the first week of November.

FACT FILE

Scrooge Award

Harrods: offers 35 designs with 3 per cent donated to various charities, and 73 with less than 5 per cent

Georgy Porgy Award

Liberty: The store's Meningitis Trust card donates 2.9 per cent of the pack price

The Curate's Egg Award

John Lewis: offers an own-brand range, with 25 per cent going to a range of charities.

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