The number of charity shops in the UK has grown by 28.5 per cent in the last three years, according to data released last week by the Local Data Company, which collects information on retail premises.
The figure is based on a sample of 300 UK town centres taken in October 2008 and October 2011. In these centres, there were 2,330 shops in 2008: this rose to 2,995 in 2011.
The company said that in the whole of the UK there were about 9,100 charity shops in more than 2,000 UK towns. It did not have comparative figures for 2008.
The LDC said large charities with a nationwide presence ran 79 per cent of the total number of shops, with the rest run by small local charities.
It found that roughly two shops had opened for every one that had closed over the past three years.
Wendy Mitchell, head of policy and public affairs at the Charity Retail Association, which represents organisations with charity shops, said the figures suggested a higher increase than those collected by the CRA.
She said that CRA market analysis, looking at the increase from 2009 to 2011, showed an increase of 8 per cent over that period.