Proportion of charity shop stock from house-to-house collections hits record low

A survey by the Charity Retail Association finds that they made up just 3 per cent of stock donated to charity shops last year

Clothing collection
Clothing collection

The proportion of stock that charity shops receive from house-to-house collections has fallen to a record low, figures from the Charity Retail Association show.

The CRA’s latest Stock Survey shows that house-to-house collections made up only 3 per cent of the total stock donated to charity retailers in 2013, which is down from 6 per cent the previous year. It was 19 per cent in 2008.

The CRA said the fall could be attributed to the high price of textiles and the continuing effects of the financial downturn. But most of the larger charity retailers have reported a rise in overall stock levels.

The report is based on a survey of 37 charities managing a total of 2,826 shops when it was conducted between July and September last year.

According to the survey, 80 per cent of donations are given directly to shops, 11 per cent come from charities collecting goods from donors at their request, 3 per cent from house-to-house collections, 4 per cent from donation banks and 2 per cent from "other sources". 

The proportion of stock being donated in shops was up from 71 per cent in 2012.

Among the larger charities (those with between 21 and 100 shops), 63 per cent said they thought volumes of stock had increased over the past 12 months. Twenty-five per cent said stock volumes were down and the remainder said there had been no change.

Among smaller charities, only 36 per cent said the volume of stock had increased compared with 18 per cent that reported a reduction.

The CRA said stock levels were still a cause for concern, but overall there was a more positive outlook generally among charity retailers.

Wendy Mitchell, head of policy and public affairs at the CRA, said: "The decline in house-to-house collections can be attributed to a number of factors. The price of textiles has continued to go up, which means there are more commercial collectors in the market; the effect of the recession is causing people to hang on to clothes for longer; or they are selling them online. There is also pressure on house-to-house collections because of bogus collectors."

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